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Vol. hi 


Vol. I 

This Large Paper Edition is limited to One Hundred and 
Twenty-five copies, all of which are numbered. 
This is No. G 9 


















Translators' Note 

The Preface of Snorri Sturluson 

The Story of the Ynglings .... 

The Story of Halfdan the Black . 

The Story of Harald Hairfair 

The Story of Hakon the Good 

The Story of King Harald Greycloak and of 

Earl Hakon the Son of Sigurd 
The Story of King Olaf Tryggvison 
Explanation of the Metaphors in the Verses 


1 1 






*-**«..««-' tj' «_i." '■_# 


AS this work is to be published in four 
volumes, we think it best to keep the 
general body of Notes for the last ; only 
printing in each volume an explanation of the 
metaphors contained in the staves of verse which 
occur in it. But the map of Norway with the 
names of the Saga period is given in this first 
portion of Heimskringla for the convenience of 
the reader. 


William Morris. 










IN this book have I let write tales told con- 
cerning those chiefs who have borne sway in 
the Northlands, and who spake the Danish 
tongue, even as I have heard men of lore tell the 
same ; and also certain of their lines of kindred ac- 
cording as they have been taught to me. Some 
of this is found in the Tellings-up of Forefathers, 
wherein kings and other men of high degree have 
traced their kin ; but some is written after olden 
songs or story-lays, which men have had for their 
joyance. Now though we wot not surely the truth 
thereof, yet this we know for a truth, that men of 
lore of old time have ever held such lore for true. 
Thiodolf of Hvin was skald to Harald Hairfair, 
and he did the lay concerning King Rognvald 
Higher-than-the- Hills, which is called the Tale of 
the Ynelino'S : Ro^rnvald was son of Olaf Geir- 

4 TJic Saga Library. 

stead-Elf, the brother of Halfdan the Black. In 
this song are thirty of his forefathers named, and 
their deaths told of and the steads where they lie. 
Fiolnir was he named who was son of Yngvi-Frey, 
to whom for long time after have the Swedes done 
sacrifice, and the Ynglings are named after his 

Eyvind the Skald-spiller also told up the tale of 
the forefathers of Earl Hakon the Mighty, in the 
lay called the Haloga Tale, which was done on 
Hakon ; therein is Soeming the son of Yngvi-Frey 
named, and record is therein of the death of each 
and of their howesteads. 

After Thiodolf's tale are the lives of the Yng- 
lings first written, and matters added thereto from 
the tales of men of lore. 

The first age is called the age of Burning, 
whereas the wont w^as to burn all dead men, and 
raise up standing-stones to them : but after that 
Frey was laid in barrow at Upsala, many great 
men fell to raising barrows to the memory of their 
kin, no less often than standing-stones. 

But after that Dan the Proud, king of the Danes, 
let make for him a howe, and bade them bear him 
thither dead with the kingly raiment and wargear, 
and his horse with all its saddle-gear, and plenteous 
wealth beside, then many men of his kin did even 
so afterwards, and thence began the Mound age 
in Denmark; but long thereafter the Burning age 
held on among the Swedes and Norwegians. 

But when Harald Hairfair was king in Norway, 
Iceland was settled, and with the king were skalds 
whose songs folk yet know by heart, yea and all 

Preface to the Round World. 5 

songs on the kings who have since held sway in 
Norway ; and most store we set by that which is 
said in such songs as were sung before the chiefs 
themselves or the sons of them ; and we hold all 
that for true, which is found in these sonofs con- 
cerning their way-farings and their battles. Now 
it is the manner of skalds to praise those most 
whom they stand before while giving forth their 
song, but no one would dare to tell the king him- 
self deeds, which all who hearkened, yea and him- 
self withal, wotted well were but windy talk and 
lying ; for no praise would that be, but mocking 


ARI the Learned, the mass-priest, who was 
the son of Thorgils, who was the son of 
Gellir, was the first man of this land who 
wrote down lore both old and new in the speech 
of the North : in the beginning of his book he 
wrote mostly of the settling of Iceland and the 
law-making therein ; and then, concerning the 
Law-speakers, how long a time each had given 
forth the law ; and began counting by years first 
till Christ's faith came to Iceland, and afterwards 
thence down to his own days. 

He set off his lore of years by many other 
matters, both the lives of kings in Norway and 
Denmark, and in England also ; yea, and by great 
tidings withal, that had befallen here in the land. 
And I deem his lore altogether most noteworthy, 

6 TJie Saga Library. 

for of exceeding wisdom he was, and so old, that 
he was born the winter next after the fall of King 
Harald Sigurdson. He wrote, as himself sayeth, 
the lives of the kings of Norway after the telling 
of Odd, the son of Kol, the son of Hall of the 
Side ; but Odd had learnt them from Thorgeir 
Afradskoll, a man who was wise indeed, and so 
old, that he dwelt at Nidness, when Earl Hakon 
the Mighty was slain. Even in the same stead 
King Olaf Tryggvison let build the cheaping 
town that now is. Now Ari Thorgilson, the 
priest, came seven winters old to Hawkdale, to 
Hall, son of Thorarin, and abode there fourteen 
winters. Hall was an exceeding wise man and 
of keen memory ; he bore in mind how Thaug- 
brand the priest christened him at three years 
old, the winter before Christ's faith was made law 
in Iceland : Ari, the priest, was twelve winters 
old whenas Bishop Isleif died. Hall had fared 
from land to land, and was trading fellow of King 
Olaf the Holy, whence he gat great furtherance ; 
and so his reign was well beknown to him. But by 
the death of Bishop Isleif were worn away wellnigh 
eighty years from the fall of King Olaf Tryggvison : 
Hall died nine years after Bishop Isleif, and by 
then were his years reckoned at ninety-four, and 
he had set up house in Hawkdale in his thirtieth 
year, and had dwelt there sixty-four winters, as 
Ari writes. Teit, the son of Bishop Isleif, was 
fostered at Hall's in Hawkdale, and kept house 
there afterwards : he taught Ari the priest, and 
told him manifold lore, which Ari wrote down 
afterwards. Ari also got manifold knowledge 

Preface to the Round IVorld. 7 

from Thurid, dauy^hter of Snorri the Priest, a 
woman wise of wit ; she remembered Snorri her 
father, who was near thirty-five whenas Christ's 
faith came to Iceland, and died one winter after 
the fall of King Olaf the Holy. 

Therefore nought marvellous was it that Ari 
knew truly many ancient tales both of our land 
and of the outlands, whereas he had learnt them 
from old men and wise, and was himself a man of 
eager wit and faithful memory. 

But the songs meseems are least misplaced, if 
they have been wrought aright, and are duly 




THE ROUND WORLD, whereas manfolk 
dwell, is much sheared apart by bights : 
great seas go from the outer-sea into the 
earth ; and men know for sure that a seagoeth from 
Niorvi's sound right up to the land of Jerusalem ; 
from that sea goeth a long bight to the north-east 
which is called the Black Sea, and sundereth the 
two World- Ridings ; to the east is Asia, but to 
the west is called Europe of some, but of some 
Enea : but north of the Black Sea lies Sweden 
the Great or the Cold : Sweden the Great some 
men deem no less than Serkland the Great, and 
some make it even to Blueland the Great ; the 
northern parts of this Sweden lie unpeopled by 
reason of the frost and the cold, even as the 
southern parts of Blueland are waste because of 
the sun's burning. Mighty lordships there are in 
Sweden, and peoples of manifold kind, and many 
tongues withal ; there are giants, and there are 
dwarfs, yea and Blue-men, and folk of many kinds 
and marvellous, and there be savage beasts and 

12 The Saga Library. I- 1 1 

drakes wondrous great. Out of the north, from 
those mountains which are without all the peopled 
parts, falls a river over Sweden, which is called 
aright Tanais, but of old was called Tanabranch 
or Vanabranch ; it comes unto the sea at the Black 
Sea ; the land betwixt the Vana-mouths was then 
called Vanland, or Vanhome. This water divides 
the two World-Ridings ; that to the east is called 
Asia, that to the west, Europe. 


EAST of Tanabranch in Asia was the land 
called As-land or As-home ; but the 
chief burg which was in that land they 
called As-garth, in which burg abode a chief called 
ODIN, and that was a great stead of blood- 
offerings. That was a custom there that twelve 
temple-priests were set the highest of all the 
people ; they were to rule the sacrifices, and judge 
betwixt man and man; they were called DIAR 
or DROTTN AR, and all folk were bound to their 
service and worship. Odin was a great warrior, 
and exceeding far-travelled, and had made many 
realms his own, and so victorious was he, that in 
every battle he gained the day ; whence it befell, 
that his men trowed of him that he should of his 
own nature ever have the victory in every battle. 
His wont it was, if he sent his men to the wars or 
on other journeys, before they went to lay his 
hands on the heads of them, and to give them 
blessing, and they trowed that they would fare 
well thereby. So it was with his men withal, that 

III-IV The story of the Ynglings. 13 

whensoever they were hard bestead, either on sea 
or land, they called upon his name, and deemed 
that they had ease thereof, for they thought 
that in him they had all their trust. Now Odin 
often fared so far away, that he abode many sea- 
sons in his journeys. 


ODIN had two brethren, one called Ve, and 
the other Vili : these brethren of his ruled 
the realm whiles he was away. But on a 
time whenas Odin was gone a long way off, and 
abided long away, the As-folk deemed they might 
never look to see him home again ; so his brethren 
fell to sharing his goods, but his wife Frigg they 
must needs have in wedlock betwixt them both ; 
but a little after came Odin home and took to him- 
self his wife once more. 


NOW Odin fell with an host on the Vanir, 
but they bestirred them manly and warded 
their land, and now one, now the other 
prevailed ; either harried the land of the other and 
wrought scathe thereon ; but when at last either 
grew loth thereof, they bespoke a meeting of 
truce between them, and made peace and delivered 
hostages one to the other ; and the Vanir gave 
their noblest men, Niord the Wealthy and his 
son Frey, but the As-folk gave in return him who 
was called Hoenir, and said that he was well 

14 The Saga Library. IV 

meet to be lord ; a big man he was, and the 
ofoodliest to behold. With him sent the As-folk 


a man hight Mimir, the wisest of men, but the 
Vanir in return him of the best wits in their com- 
pany, Quasir by name. But when Hcenir came to 
Vanhome, then was he straightly made a lord, 
and Mimir taught him all good counsel. But when 
Hffinir was in his place at Things, or assemblies, 
whenso it befell that Mimir was not anigh him, and 
there came before him any hard matter, ever 
would he answer in one wise : " Let others give 
rule ! " said he. Then the Vanir misdoubted them 
that the As-folk had beguiled them in the exchang- 
ing of men, and they took Mimir and cut his throat, 
and sent the head to the As-host : then Odin took 
the head, and smeared it with such worts that it. 
might not rot, and sang words of wizardry there- 
over, and gave it such might that it spake to him 
and told him many hidden matters. 

Odin made Niord and Frey temple-priests, and 
they became Diar among the As-folk. The daughter 
of Niord was Freya; she was a temple-priestess, 
and was the first to teach wizardry among the 
As-folk according to the wont of the Vanir. While 
Niord was with the Vanir, he had had his sister to 
wife, for it was lawful there so to do, and their 
children were Frey and Freya. But it was for- 
bidden among the As-folk to wed such near kin. 

V The story of the Ynglings. 15 


A GREAT mountain-wall goes from the 
north-east to the south-west ; that parts 
Sweden the Great from other realms ; 
south of those mountains there is no long way to 
the land of the Turks, and there had Odin wide 
lands of his own. Now in those days fared the 
Lords of the Roman Folk wide over the world 
and beat down all peoples under them, hut many 
lords and kings fled away from their own before 
the trouble of them : so whereas Odin was fore- 
seeing, and wise in wizardry, he knew that his 
offspring should people the Northern Parts of the 
World. So he set his brethren Ve and Vili over 
As-garth, but himself went his ways, and all the 
Diar with him, and much other folk withal ; and 
first he fared west into the Garth-realm, and then 
south into Saxland. He had many sons, and got 
for himself realms wide through Saxland, and 
there he set his sons over the heeding of the land. 
Then he fared north to the sea, and abode in a cer- 
tain island that is now called Odin's-isle in Fion ; 
thence he sent Gefion north over the sound to 
seek new lands, and she came to Gylfi, and he 
gave her a day's plough-land. Then went she to 
the Giant-home, and there bore four sons to a cer- 
tain giant, and turned them into the likeness of 
oxen, and yoked them to the plough, and drew the 
land out into the sea, and west over against 
Odin's-isle, and that land is called Selund, and 

1 6 The Saga Library. V 

there she dwelt afterward. Skiold, the son of Odin, 
wedded her, and they dwelt at Hleithra : there is 
a sea or water left behind which is called the Low. 
And so it is that the firths in the Low lie in such 
a wise that they answer to the nesses in Selund. 
So sings Bragi the Old : 

Glad Gefion dragged from Gylfi, 
Great lord of the deep sea's-sun, 
Due increase unto Denmark, 
Hard drew the reeking beasts : 
Eight foreheads' moons shone forth 
From four heads as they went. 
And furrowed off the fair 
And friendly island home. 

But when Odin heard that good land was to be 
gotten east in Gylfi's country, he went thither, and 
made peace with him, because Gylfi deemed he 
had no might to withstand the As-folk. Many 
dealings had Odin and Gylfi together in cunning 
tricks and wizardry, and ever were the As-folk the 
mightier therein. Odin took up his abode at the 
Low, at the stead which is now called Ancient Sig- 
town, and made there a great temple, with blood- 
offerings according to the custom of the As-folk ; he 
owned the land there as wide about as he called it 
Sigtown ; and there gave he abode to the temple- 
priests : Niord dwelt at Nois-town, but Frey at 
Upsala, Heimdall at Heavenberg, Thor at 
Thundermead, Balder at Broadbeam ; to all gave 
he good abiding-places. 

VI The Story of the Yiiglhigs. 17 


IT is said soothlyof Odin of the As-folk when he 
came into the North countries and the Diar 
with him, that they were the first to bring in 
and teach those crafts which men have long since 
plied. Odin was the noblest of all, and from him 
they all gat the crafts, for he was the first that knew 
them all and the greatest number thereof to boot. 
Now it is to be told that whereas he was so greatly 
worshipped, these were the things that brought it 
about : he was so fair and noble of visage when he 
sat amid his friends, that every man's heart laughed 
thereat ; whereas, when he was a-warring, then was 
his countenance terrible towards his foes. And 
this was the cause thereof, that he knew the art 
and craft whereby he could change his hue and 
shape in any wise that he would ; and this again, 
that the speech of him was so clear and smooth 
that all folk who listened thereto deemed that 
alone for true which he spake ; and in measures 
did he speak all things, even as that is now said 
which is called Skald-craft. 

He and his temple-priests are called Lay- 
smiths, for that skill began through them in the 
North-lands. Such craft had Odin, that in battle 
he could make his foes blind or deaf or fear- 
stricken, and that their weapons would bite no 
more than wands ; but his own men went without 
byrnies, and were mad as dogs or wolves, and bit 
on their shields, and were as strong as bears or 
III. c 

1 8 TJie Saga Library. VII 

bulls ; menfolk they slew, and neither fire nor steel 
would deal with them : and this is what is called 


NOW Odin would change his shape ; his 
body would lie there as of one sleeping 
or dead, while he himself was a fowl or a 
wild beast, a fish or a worm, and would go in the 
twinkling of an eye to far-away lands on his own 
errands or the errands of others. 

Moreover, he knew how by words alone to 
slake the fire or still the sea, and how to turn 
the wind to whichso way he would. Odin had 
a ship called Skidbladnir, wherein he would fare 
over mighty seas ; and that same ship might be 
folded together like a very napkin. Odin had ever 
Mimir's head by him, and that told him many 
tidings from other worlds : and whiles would he 
wake up dead men from the earth, or sit down 
under men hanged ; wherefore was he called the 
Lord of the Ghosts, or the Lord of the Hanged. 
Two ravens also he had which he had tamed to 
speak, and wide over the lands they flew, and told 
him many tidings ; and from all these things he 
became wondrous wise ; all this craft taught he by 
runes and songs called wizard songs, wherefore are 
the As-folk called smiths of wizardry. Odin was 
wise in that craft wherewith went most might, 
which is called spell-craft, and this he himself fol- 
lowed : wherefore he had might to know the fate 
of men and things not yet come to pass ; yea, or 

VII llie Stoyy of the YngUngs. 19 

how to work for men bane or ill-hap or ill-heal, 
and to take wit or strength from men and <:;;^ive 
them unto others. But with this sorcery that 
is thus done goes so much lewdness, that it was not 
thought to be without shame for menfolk to deal 
therein, so that cunning was taught to the temple- 
priestesses. Odin knew of all buried treasures 
where they were hidden ; and he knew lays where- 
by the earth opened before him, and mountains 
and rocks and mounds, and how to bind with words 
alone whoso might be found dwelling therein ; and 
he would go in and take thence what he would. 

From all this craft he became exceeding famed, 
and his foes dreaded him, but his friends put their 
trust in him, and had faith in his craft and himself; 
but he taught the more part of his cunning to the 
temple-priests, and they were next to him in all 
wisdom and cunning : albeit many others got to 
them much knowledge thereof and thence has 
sorcery spread far and wide and endured long. 
But to Odin and those twelve lords did men do 
sacrifice, and called them their gods, and trowed 
in them long afterwards. 

Folk are called Audun after Odin's name, as 
men were wont so to call their sons, and Thorir or 
Thorarin are named after Thor ; or names are 
joined to it from other matters, as Steinthor or 
Hafthor, and so in many other wise. 

20 The Saga Library. VIII-IX 


ODIN settled such law in his land as had 
of old time gone among the As-folk ; and 
he laid down withal that all dead men 
should be burned, and that with them their chattels 
should be borne to bale ; for he said that with 
such wealth as a man brought to his bale should 
he come to Valhall ; and that there also should he 
enjoy whatsoever he had buried himself in the 
earth. But the ashes should men bear out to 
sea, or bury in the earth ; and over noble men 
should a mound be raised for the memory of 
them ; but in memory of all men of any mark 
should standing-stones be raised : and for long 
after did that wont endure. 

Folk were to hold sacrifice against the coming 
of winter for a good year ; in midwinter for the 
growth of the earth ; and a third in the summer 
that was an offering for gain and victory. All 
over Sweden men paid Odin scat, to wit a penny 
for every head, but he was bound to ward their land 
from war, and to sacrifice for them for a good year. 


NIORD wedded a woman called Skadi, 
but she would nought of him, and so 
was wedded to Odin, and many sons 
they had, one whereof was called Seeming, over 
whom hath Eyvind the Skald-spiller made this : 

X The Story of the Yugliugs. 2 1 

The reddener of shield, 
The sire of As-folk, 
Got the scat-giver 
On a giant maiden. 
While for more seasons 
In Manhome dwelt 
']"hc warriors' friend 
And Skadi with him. 
But she of the rock-lands' 
Rushing snow-skids, 
Sons a-many 
Bare unto Odin. 

Earl Hakon the Mighty carried back the tale 
of his forefathers to this Seeming. 

Now this Sweden they called Manhome, but 
Sweden the Great called they Godhome ; and of 
Godhome are many tales told and many marvels. 


ODIN died in his bed in Sweden; but when 
he was come nigh to his death, he let 
mark him with a spear-point, and claimed 
as his own all men dead by weapon ; and he said 
that hewould go his ways to Godhome and welcome 
his friends there. Now were the Swedes minded 
that he would be come to that As-garth of old days, 
there to live his life for ever ; and then began 
anew the worship of Odin and the vowing of vows 
to him. Oft thought the Swedes that he showed 
himself to them in dreams before great battles 
should be ; and to some he gave victory there and 
then, and to others bidding to come to him ; and 
either lot they deemed good enow. 

22 The Saga Library. XI -XI I 

Odin dead was burned, and his burning was 
done in the seemliest wise ; but the troth of men 
was it in those days, that the higher the reek 
reached up aloft, the more exalted in heaven 
would he be who was burned there ; yea, and the 
richer the more treasure was burned with him. 


SO then Niord of Noatown became ruler 
over the Swedes, and upheld the sacrifices, 
and the Swedes called him their Lord and 
he took^ree scat of them. In his days was there 
exceeding good peace, and years of all kinds of 
plenty, so great that the Swedes trowed thereby 
that Niord swayed the plenty of the year and the 
wealth-hap of mankind. In his days died the 
more part of the Diar, and to all of them were 
blood-offerings made, and they were burned there- 
after. Niord died in his bed, and let him be 
marked unto Odin or ever he died ; the Swedes 
burned him, and greeted sore over his grave. 


FREY then took to him the realm after 
Niord; he was called Lord of the Swedes, 
and took free scat of them ; he was well- 
beloved, and happy in good years even as his 
father. Frey raised a great temple at Upsala, 
and there had his chief abode, and endowed it 
with all his wealth, both land and chattels. Then 
began the weal of Upsala, which has endured ever 

XIII The story of the Yuglings. 23 

since. In his days began the Peace of Frodi, and 
then also were plenteous years throughout all lands; 
and that the Swedes laid to the account of Frey ; 
and he was held dearer therefor than the other 
gods, as in his days the people were wealthier 
than aforetime from the good peace and plenteous 
years. Gerd, the daughter of Gymir, was Frey's 
wife, and their son was called Fiolnir. Frey was 
called by another name, that is to say, Yngvi, and 
this name of Yngvi was long used for a name of 
honour in his blood, and his kindred were in after- 
time called Ynfrlings. 

Now Frey fell sick, but when his sickness waxed 
on him, men took counsel and let few folk come 
into him ; and they built a great howe and made 
a door therein, and three windows ; and so when 
Frey was dead they bore him privily into the 
howe, and told the Swedes that he was still 
alive, and there they guarded him for three 
winters, and poured all the scat into the mound : 
gold through the one window, silver through the 
second, and copper pennies through the third. 
And this while endured plenteous years and 


NOW Freya upheld the sacrifices, for she 
alone of the gods was left behind alive ; 
and of the greatest fame she was, so that 
by her name should all women of honour be called, 
even as now they are called Fruvor (ladies) : so 

24 The Saga Library. XIV 

also every woman is called Freya who rules over 
her own, but House-freya she who rules a house- 

Now Freya was somewhat shifting of mood ; 
Odr was the name of her husband, but her 
daughters were Hnoss and Gersemi, and they 
were exceeding fair, and after them are called all 
things that are dearest to have. 

But now when all the Swedes wotted that Prey 
was dead, and the plenteous years and good peace 
still endured, then they trowed that so it would be 
while he still abode in Sweden; neither would they 
burn him, but called him the God of the World, 
and sacrificed to him ever after, most of all for 
plenteous years and peace. 


FIOLNIR the son of Yngvi-Prey ruled 
next over the Swedes and the wealth of 
Upsala ; he was a mighty man, and his 
years were full of plenty and peace. Peace-Prodi 
abode as then at Hleithra, and great friendship 
there was betwixt these twain and bidding from 
house to house. But whenas Piolnir fared to 
Prodi in Selund, then was a great feast arrayed 
there against his coming, and folk were bidden 
there from lands far and wide. There had Prodi 
a great homestead, and therein was there wrought 
a mighty vat many ells high, which stood on mighty 
big beams ; now this stood down in a certain under- 
croft, and there was a loft above it, the floor 

XV The Story of the Yugliugs. 25 

whereof was open, that the liquor might be poured 
down thereby ; but the vat was full of mingled 
mead, and that drink was wondrous strong. A- 
night-time was Fiolnir brought to his lodging in 
the next loft, and his company with him. Amidst 
the night he went out unto the gallery to seek a 
privy place, and he was bewildered with sleep and 
dead-drunk ; so when he turned back to his lodging 
he went along the gallery, and unto the door of 
another loft, whereinto he went, and missed his 
footing, and fell into the mead-vat and was lost 
there. So sings Thiodolf of Hvin : 

Now hath befallen 
In Frodi's house 
The word of fate 
To fall on Fiolnir : 
That the windless wave 
Of the wild bull's spears 
That lord should do 
To death by drowning. 


SWEGDIR took the realm to him after his 
father, and he vowed a vow to go seek 
Godhome and Odin the Old. He fared 
with twelve men wide through the world ; he 
came out to Turkland and Sweden the Great, and 
found there many of his kin and friends, and he 
was five winters about this journey ; then he cam_e 
home to Sweden, and dwelt there at home yet 
awhile. He had wedded a woman called Vana out 
in Vanhome, and their son was called Vanland. 
But Swegdir fared yet again a-seeking God- 

26 The Saga Library. XVI 

home. Now in the east parts of Sweden is a great 
stead called Stone, where is a rock as big as big 
houses be ; so one evening-tide after sunset, whenas 
Swegdir went from the drinking to his sleeping- 
bower, he looked on the stone, and lo, there sat a 
dwarf thereunder. Now Swegdir and his men were 
very drunk, and they ran to the stone, and the 
dwarf stood in the door thereof and called on 
Swegdir, and bade him come in there, if he would 
find Odin. Swegdir ran into the stone and it shut 
behind him straightway, and Swegdir never came 
back again. So sings Thiodolf of Hvin : 

There the day-shunning 
Diirnir's offspring, 
The dark-halls' warden. 
Won King Swegdir, 
When into the stone 
Leapt tlie strong-hearted, 
The man all reckless, 
After the dwarf kind ; 
Then when the bright 
Abode of giants, 
Sokmimir's hall, 
Gaped high o'er the king. 


THE son of Swegdir was Vanland, and he 
took the realm after his father, and ruled 
over the Wealth of Upsala ; he was a 
great warrior, and fared wide about the world. 
One winter-tide he abode in F"inland with Snow 
the Old, and there wedded his daughter Drift ; but 
in the spring-tide he went his ways and Drift was 
left behind, but he promised to come back after the 

XVI The story of the Ynglings. 27 

space of three winters, yet came he not back in ten 
winters. Then sent Drift after Huld the witchwife, 
but sent Visbur, the son of her and Vanland, to 
Sweden. Drift made a bargain with Huld the 
witchwife to this end, that she was to draw Van- 
land to Finland by spells or else slay him ; but 
when the spell was set forth, then was Vanland 
at Upsala. Then he grew fain of faring to Finland, 
but his friends and counsellors forbade him, and 
said that the wizardry of the Fins was busy in his 
desire. Then he became heavy with slumber, and 
laid himself down to sleep, but when he had slept 
but a short space, he cried out and said that the 
Mare was treading him. His men went to him and 
would help him ; but when they went to his head, 
she betrod his legs, so that they were nigh broken, 
and when they went to the legs, she so smothered 
the head of him, that there he died. The Swedes 
took his corpse and burned it beside the river 
called Skuta ; and there standing-stones were set 
up to him. So sings Thiodolf : 

Now the witch-wight 
Drave King Vanland 
Down to visit 
Vihr's brother. 
There the troll-wise 
Blind-night's witchwife 
Trod all about 
Men's over-thrower. 
The jewel-caster. 
He whom the mare quelled, 
On Skuta's bed, 
There was he burning. 

28 The Saga Library. XVII 


VISBUR took to him the heritage of Van- 
land his father, and fell to wedding the 
daughter of Aude the Wealthy, to whom 
he gave as a dower three great towns and a gold 
necklace ; two sons they had, Gisl and Ondur. 
Then Visbur left her alone, and took to him another 
wife, and she fared to her father with her sons. 
Visbur had a son called Domald, and his step- 
mother let sing unluck at him. So when Visbur's 
sons were twelve and thirteen years old each, they- 
went to him and claimed the dower of their 
mother, but he would not yield up the same. 
Then they cried out that that gold necklace should 
be the bane of the best man of his kin, and so 
went their ways home. Then was yet more sorcery 
set a-brewing and to this end, that they should 
have might to slay their father. Therewith Huld 
the witchwife declared unto them that even so she 
would work her spell, yea and moreover that the 
slaying of kin by kin should ever after follow the 
blood of the Ynglings ; and thereto they said yea. 
Then they gathered folk to them, and fell on 
Visbur unawares a-night-time, and burned him in 
his house. So sings Thiodolf : 

And King Visbur's 
Will-burg next 
Swallowed up 
The sea's hot brother. 
When the seat-warders 
Let loose the baneful 
Thief of the woodland 

XVIII The story of the Yngliugs. 29 

On Visbur tlieir father. 
And the roaring wolf 
Of the red gleed bit 
The mighty king 
All in his hearth-keel. 


DOMALD took to him the heritage of 
Visbur his father, and ruled the lands ; 
and in his days there fell on the Swedes 
great hunger and famine. Then the Swedes set 
up great blood-offerings at Upsala : the first 
autumn they offered up oxen, but none the more was 
the earth's increase bettered ; the next autumn 
they offered up men, and the increase of the year 
was the same, or worse it might be ; but the third 
autumn came the Swedes tlockmeal to Upsala 
whenas the sacrifices should be. Then held the 
great men counsel together, and were of one 
accord that this scarcity was because of Domakl 
their king, and withal that they should sacrifice 
him for the plenty of the year ; yea, that they 
should set on him and slay him, and redden the 
seats of the gods with the blood of him ; and even 
so they did. So sayeth Thiodolf : 

Of yore agone was it 

That they the sword-bearers 

Must redden the meadows 

With blood of their lord : •, 

When the land-folk were bearing 

Their blood-wetted weapons 

Away from the place 

Where Domald lay life-spent. 

30 The Saga Library. XIX-XX 

When the Swedish people 
Fain of plenty 
Brought to undoing 
The bane of the Jute-folk. 


THE son of Domald was Domar, who next 
ruled the reahn. His rule over the land 
endured long, and there was good plenty 
and peace throughout his days ; of him is nought 
more told save that he died in his bed at Upsala, 
and was borne forth to F"yri's meads, and burned 
there on the river-bank whereas are his standing- 
stones. So sayeth Thiodolf : 

Oft have I 
Of men of lore 
Asked concerning 
The corpse of Yngvi, 
Where in earth Domar 
Was down borne 
By the roaring bright 
Bane of Half 
Now wot I surely 
That sickness-bitten 
Fiolnir's offspring 
By Fyri burned. 


DYGGVI was the name of his son, who 
ruled over the land after him : and of 
whom nought is told, save that he died in 
his bed ; as Thiodolf says : 

XXI The Stoyy of tJie Vnglings. 31 

Nouglit I misdoubt me 
That Glitnir's goddess 
Hath Dyggvi dead 
For her own plaything ; 
For the sister of Wolf, 
The sister of Narfi, 
Must come to choose 
The kingly man. 
And the over-ruler 
Of Yngvi's people 
Loki's sister 
Has bewitched. 

The mother of Dyggvi was Drott, the daughter 
of King Danp, the son of Rig, who was the first 
who was called King in the tongue of the Danes, 
and his kin have ever after held the name of King 
for the highest among names of honour. Now 
Dyggvi was the first who was called King among 
his kin, but or his time they were called Drott- 
nar, and their wives, Drottningar, and the company 
of their court, Drott. But Yngvi or Ynguni was 
everyone of that kin called through all the days of 
his life, and the whole race is called Ynglings. 
Queen Drott was sister of King Dan the Proud, 
after whom Denmark is named. 


THE son of King Dyggvi was Day, who 
took the kingdom after his time, and so 
wise a man he was, that he knew the 
speech of fowl ; and a certain sparrow he had 
which told him many tidings, and ever flew from 
land to land ; and on a time when the sparrow 

32 TJic Saga Library. XXI 

flew into Reith Gothland, to a stead called Vorvi, he 
flew into a carle's cornfield, and there gat his meat ; 
but the carle came upon him, and caught up a stone, 
and smote the sparrow dead. Now King Day was 
ill at ease that his sparrow came not home, so he 
betook him to sacrifice of atonement, to know 
what had betid, and he had answer that his sparrow 
was slain at Vorvi. So he summoned to him a great 
host and went his ways to Gothland, and when he 
came to Vorvi, he went upintothecountry and harried 
there, and folk fled away far and wide before him. 
Now King Day turned back with his army to the 
ships as evening-tide drew on, and he had slain 
many folk and taken many ; and as they crossed 
over a certain river at a place called Shooter's-ford, 
or Weapon-ford, a certain field-thrall ran out from 
the wood unto the river-bank, and cast a hayfork 
amidst their company, and it smote the king upon 
the head, and he fell from his horse straightway, 
and got his death therefrom ; and his men went 
back to Sweden. 

In those days a lord who went a-warring was 
called "gram," and the warriors werecalled " gramir." 
So sings Thiodolf : 

or Day heard I, 
How forth he wended 
Fain of fame 
To his fated death ; 
When unto Vorvi 
Came he that tameth 
The death-rod's hunger 
For his sparrow's avenging. 
Yea e'en that word 
All unto the eastways 

XXII The story of the Ynglings. 33 

The folk of the king 
l<'roni fight must bear, 
That the fork that pitcliclh 
The meat of Sleipnir 
Hath laid alow 
That lord of battle. 


AGNI was the name of Day's son, who was 
king in his stead, a mighty man and far- 
famed, a great warrior, and a man of all 
prowess in all matters. On a summer King Agni 
went with his armv to Finland, and went a-land 
and harried there ; but the Fins drew together 
a great host and met him in battle, and Frosty 
was the name of their lord. So a fierce fight befell 
wherein King Agni gained the day, and Frosty 
fell there and many of his host with him. So 
King Agni fared, war-shield aloft, through Fin- 
land, and laid it under him, and gat mighty great 
booty ; and he took and had away with him Skialf 
the daughter of Frosty, as well as Logi her 

So when he sailed from the east, he made for 
Stock-Sound, and pitched his tents south on the 
strand, whereas wood then was. Now King 
Agni had that gold necklace which Visbur had 
owned. But King Agni must needs wed Skialf, 
and she prayed him to hold a funeral feast over 
her father ; and he did so, and bade to himself 
many mighty men and made a great feast : of 
mighty fame was he grown because of this way- 
faring. So at this feast were there great drinkings, 

111. 1.1 

34 TJic Saga Library. XXII 

and when King Agni was merry with drink, then 
Skialf bade him heed well the necklace which he 
had on his neck ; so he fell to and bound it strongly 
on his neck or ever he went to sleep. But his 
land-tent stood by the wood-side, and there was a 
high tree over the tent to shade it from the sun's 
heat. So whenas King Agni was asleep, then 
Skialf took a stout rope, and did it under the neck- 
lace. But her men overthrew the tent-poles, and 
cast a bight of the rope up into the tree-boughs, 
and then hauled at it so that the king hung right 
under the tree -limb, and gat his bane thereby ; 
then Skialf and her men ran a-shipboard and rowed 
away. King Agni was burned there, and sithence 
the place was called Agnis-thwaite, being in the 
eastern part of the Taur and west of Stock-Sound. 
So says Thiodolf : 

I count it wondrous 
If Agnis' men 
Deemed redes of Skialf 
For the redes of fate. 
When with the gold-gaud 
That goodly king 
Logi's sister 
Hove aloft : 
He who on Taur-mead 
Needs must tame 
The wind-cold steed 
Of Signy's husband. 

XXIII The story of the Yngliugs. 35 


ALREK and Eric, sons of Agni, were 
kings in his stead ; mighty men were 
they and great warriors, and skilled in 
manly deeds : their wont it was to ride horses and 
break them both to the amble and the gallop, and 
greater was their skill therein than of any other 
men ; and with the utmost eagerness they strove 
with each other which rode the better, and had the 
best horses. On a time the two brethren rode 
away from other men, with their best horses, taking 
their way out into a certain mead, and never came 
back ; and when men went to seek them, they 
found them both dead, and the head of each one all 
to-broken, but no weapon had they save the bits of 
their horses ; and men deemed that they had slain 
each other therewith. So sings Thiodolf : 

Alrek fell 

Whenas fell Eric 

Brought to his bane 

By his brother's weapons : 

There with the headgear 

Of riding-horses 

Day's kin, 'tis said, 

Did kill each other : 

None yet had heard 

Of horses' harness 

Plied in the fight 

By Frey's own offspring. 

36 The Saga Library. XXIV 


YNGVI and Alf were the sons of Alrek, 
and took kind's rule next in Sweden 

Ynevi was a ereat warrior and ever 

'&■* ""-^ " J,' 

happy in battle, fair and of the greatest prowess, 
stronof and most brisk in fieht, bountiful of his 
wealth, and one of cheerful heart, and from all this 
he became famed and beloved. But King Alf, his 
brother, sat at home, nor went to the wars, and he 
was called Althing ; he was a moody man, masterful 
and rough ; his mother was Daybright, the daughter 
of King Day the Mighty, from whom are come the 

King Alf had to wife Bera, the fairest and 
eagerest of women, a woman most gleesome of 
heart. Now Yngvi Alrekson was once again come 
in autumn-tide to Upsala from the viking wars, full 
of all fame, and oft he sat long a-drinking be- 
nights ; but often would King Alf be going early 
to bed. Queen Bera sat full oft late of an evening, 
and Yngvi and she had privy talk together. Hereon 
would Alf oft be speaking to her and bidding her 
to go earlier to bed, for that he would not lie awake 
for her. Then said she that happy were the 
woman that had Yngvi to her husband rather than 
Alf, and Alf grew exceeding wroth when she spake 
that word full oft. 

On a night Alf went into the hall, whenas 
Ynsfvi and Bera sat a-talkine in the high-seat ; 
and Yngvi had a sword across his knees. Now 
were men much drunken, and gave no heed to the 

XXV The story of the Ynglings. 37 

king's coming in ; but King Alf went up to the 
high-seat, and drew a sword from under his cloak 
and thrust it through Yngvi his brother. Tlien 
Yngvi sprang up and drew his glaive and smote 
Alf deadly, and they both fell dead to the floor : so 
Alf and Yngvi were laid in mound in Fyri's meads. 
So says Thiodolf : 

There he the warden 
Of holy stalls 
Must lie dead, slaughtered 
By Alf the Slayer, 
Whenas Day's offspring 
A-rage with envy 
Must redden blade 
In blood of Yngvi. 

Unmeet that Bera 
Should whet to battle 
The slain men's lullers, 
Whenas two brethren, 
Each unto each grown 
All unhelpful, 
For jealous grudge 
Must slay each other. 


HUGLEHv hight the son of Alf, who had 
the kingdom of the Swedes after those 
brethren, because the sons of Yngvi 
were then but children in years. King Hugleik 
was no warrior, but sat at home in the seat of 
peace ; he was exceeding wealthy, and niggard of 
wealth withal. He had in his court many of 
all kinds of minstrels, harp-players, and jig-players. 

38 The Saga Library. XXV 

and fiddlers; and spell-workers he had with him also, 
and all kind of cunning folk. 

Now Haki and Hagbard were two brethren of 
great fame ; sea-kings were they, and had a great 
company ; and whiles they went both together, and 
whiles each one alone, and many champions there 
were with either. Now King Haki went with his 
army to Sweden against King Hugleik. So King 
Hugleik gathered together an host against him, and 
there came into his fellowship two brethren, Swip- 
daof and Geisrad, men of fame both, and the 
greatest of champions. King Haki had twelve 
champions with him, and Starkad the Old was 
then of his fellowship, and King Haki himself 
withal was the greatest of champions. They met 
on Fyri's meads, and a great battle befell there, and 
anon Hugleik's folk fell fast ; then set on those 
chiefs, Swipdagand Geigad, but Haki's champions 
went six against each, and they were taken. Then 
went Haki into the shield-burg against Hugleik 
the king, and slew him there, and his two sons 
withal. Thereupon the Swedes fled ; but King 
Haki now laid the lands under him, and became 
king over the Swedes, and sat at home by his 
lands for three winters ; and amid that peace and 
quiet his champions went from him to the viking 
wars, and thus gat wealth to themselves. 

XXVI-VII The story of the Yngliugs. 39 


JORUND and Eric were the sons of Yngvi, 
the son of Alrek ; they lay out at sea in 
their warships all this while, and were great 
warriors. One summer they harried in Denmark, 
and there happened on Gudlaug, the King of 
Halogaland, and had a battle with him, which had 
such end, that Gudlaug's ship was cleared, and he 
himself taken. They brought him a-land at Strcam- 
isle-ness, and there hanged him, and there his folk 
heaped up a mound above him. So says Eyvind 
the Skald-spiller : 

Gudlaug moreover, 
Borne down by tlie might 
Of the Eastland kings, 
Must tame the grim-heart 
Horse of Sigar; 
The sons of Yngvi 
On the tree they horsed him 
The jewel-waster. 

There then corpse-ridden 
Stands the windy tree 
On the Ness a-drooping 
Where the deep bays sunder. 
'Tis the ness of Slream-isle, 
Famed in story 
By the mark of a stone 
For the mound of a king. 


THOSE brothers Eric and Jorund won 
much fame from this deed, and they 
deemed themselves far greater men than 
aforetime. They heard that King Haki of Sweden 

40 The Saga Libyary. XXVIII 

had sent his champions from him, so they made 
for Sweden and drew an host together. As soon 
as the Swedes knew that the Ynglings were come 
thither, a countless host flocked to them. Then 
they laid their shijjs into the Low, and made for 
Upsala to fall on King Haki, but he went out 
into Fyri's meads against them, and his company 
was far less than theirs. Fierce fight befell there, 
and King Haki set on so hard that he felled all 
who were anigh him, and in the end slew King 
Eric, and hewed down the banner of the brethren. 
Then fled King Jorund away to his ships with all 
his folk. Now King Haki had gotten such sore 
hurts, that he saw that the days of his life would 
not be long ; so he let take a swift ship that he 
had, and lade it with dead men and weapons, and 
let bring it out to sea, and ship the rudder, and 
hoist up the sail, and then let lay fire in tar- 
wood, and make a bale aboard. The wind blew 
offshore, and Haki was come nigh to death, or 
was verily dead, when he was laid on the bale, 
and the ship went blazing out into the main sea ; 
and of great fame was that deed for long and long- 


JORUND, the son of King Yngvi, now became 
king at Upsala and swayed the realm, and 
ofttimeswent hea-warring in the summer-tide; 
and on a summer he fared with his host to Den- 
mark, and harried in Jutland, and in the autumn 

XXIX The story of the Yngliiigs. 41 

went up Limbfirth, and harried thereabout, and 
laid his ships in Oddsound. Then came thither 
with a mighty host Gylaug, King of Halogaland, 
the son of Gudlaug who is aforenamed, and he fell 
to battle with Jorund. But the folk of that land 
were ware thereof; they flocked thither from all 
quarters with ships both great and small. So there 
was King Jorund overborne by multitudes, and 
his ships cleared, and he himself leaped overboard 
a-swimming, but they laid hands on him, and 
brought him a-land. Then let King Gylaug rear up 
a gallows, and lead Jorund thereto, and hang him 
thereon ; and thus his life-days ended. So sings 

Jorund who died 
In yore-agone 
Must lay down life 
In Limafirth ; 
When the high-breasted 
Hemp-rope Sleipnir 
Must needs bear up 
The bane of Gudlaug. 
And there the leavings 
Of Hagbard's goat 
Gripped hard the neck 
Of the Hersirs' ruler. 



UN, or Ani, was the son of Jorund, who 
was king over the Swedes after his father. 
He was a wise man, and held much by 

blood-offerings ; no warrior, but abode on his 

lands in peace. 


42 TJie Saga Library. XXIX 

Now in the days when these kings aforesaid 
bare rule at Upsala, the kings over the Danes 
were, first, Dan the Proud, who lived to be ex- 
ceeding old ; then his son Frodi the Proud, or the 
Peaceful, and then Halfdan and Fridleif the sons 
of him, and these were great warriors. Halfdan 
was the older, and the foremost in all matters ; 
and he went with an army against King Aun of 
Sweden, and certain battles they had wherein 
Halfdan ever gained the day ; and in the end 
King Aun fled into West Gautland, whenas he 
had been king at Upsala for five-and-twenty years ; 
and for twenty-five winters he abode in Gautland, 
while King Halfdan ruled at Upsala. King Half- 
dan died in his bed at Upsala, and was laid in 
mound there. Thereafter came King Aun yet 
again to Upsala, and was then sixty years old. 
Then he made a great sacrifice for length of days, 
and gave Odin his son, and he was offered up to 
him. Then gat King Aun answer from Odin that 
he should live yet another sixty winters : so he 
reigned on at Upsala for twenty-five winters more. 
Then came Ali the Bold, the son of Fridleif, with 
an army to Sweden against King Aun, and battles 
they had, and King Ali ever had the better part; 
and again King Aun fled his realm, and went into 
West Gautland ; and Ali was king in Upsala 
twenty-and-five winters or ever Starkad the Old 
slew him. After the fall of Ali, King Aun went 
back again to Upsala, and ruled the realm there 
yet five-and-twenty winters. Then he made yet 
another great sacrifice for the lengthening of his 
life, and offered up another of his sons ; but Odin 

XXIX The story of the Ynglings. 43 

answered him that he should live on ever, even so 
long as he gave Odin one of his sons every tenth 
year ; and bade him withal give a name to some 
county in his land, according to the tale of those 
sons of his whom he should offer up to Odin. So 
when he had offered up seven sons, then he lived 
ten winters yet in such case that he might not go 
afoot, but was borne about on a chair. Then he 
offered up yet again the eighth son of his, and lived 
ten winters yet, and then lay bedridden. Then 
he offered up his ninth son, and lived ten winters 
yet, and then must needs drink from a horn, even 
as a swaddling babe. Now had he one son yet 
left, and him also would he offer up, and give to 
Odin Upsala withal and the country-side there- 
about, and let call it Tenthland ; but the Swedes 
forbade it him, and there was no sacrifice So King 
Aun died, and was laid in howe at Upsala ; and 
ever since is it called Aun's sickness when a man 
dies painless of eld. So sings Thiodolf : 

In days agone 

At Upsala 

Must Aun sickness 

For Aun work ending : 

And he the king 

To life strong-clinging 

.Sank back again 

To second childhood. 

Yea, the little end 
Of the long sword 
That the bull beareth, 
Beareth he mouthward. 
There the son-slayer 
Drank from the sword-point 

44 TJie Saga Library. XXX 

Of the yoke reindeer, 
Drank lying lowly. 

No might had the East King 


To hold aloft 

The herd's head-weapon. 


EGIL was the name of the son of Aim who 
was king in Sweden after his father ; he 
was no warrior, but abode on his lands in 
peace. He had a thrall hight Tunni, who had 
been with Aun the Old, and was his treasurer ; but 
when Aun the Old was dead, then took Tunni 
abundance of his wealth and buried it under the 
earth. But now when Egil became king he set 
Tunni amid the other thralls ; and this he took 
exceeding ill, and ran away, and many other thralls 
with him ; and they dug up the money which Tunni 
had buried, and he gave the same to his men, and 
they took him to be lord over them. Thereafter 
there flocked to him much folk of the runagates, 
and they lay abroad in the wild-wood ; but whiles 
would they fall on the country-sides, and rob men 
or slay them. Now King Egil heard thereof, and 
went to seek them with his host; but on a night, 
when he had taken up his quarters, came Tunni 
with his folk and fell on them unawares, and slew 
many of the king's men. So when King Egil was 
ware that war was come upon him, he turned against 
Tunni, and set up his banner, but many of his folk 
fled away from him, so furiously as Tunni, he and 

XXX The story of tJie Yilgliiigs. 45 

his, set on, and King Egil saw nought for it but to 
flee. So Tunni and his folk drave the whole rout 
to the wild-wood, and then fared back to the peopled 
land, and harried and robbed, and found nought to 
withstand them. All the wealth Tunni took in the 
country-sides he gave to his men, whereof he became 
well-beloved and followed of many. 

Now King Egil gathered an army together and 
went against Tunni ; so they fought, and Tunni 
prevailed, and King Egil fled away, and lost many 
men : eieht battles had Kinir Efjil and Tunni to- 
gether, and in all of them Tunni gained the vic- 
tory. So thereafter King Egil fled away from the 
land, and made for Selund in Denmark and the 
court of King Frodi the Bold ; and there he pro- 
mised for King Prodi's helping scat from the 
Swedes. So Frodi gave him an host and his cham- 
pions withal, and Egil went his ways to Sweden. 
And whenas Tunni knew thereof, he went against 
him with his host, and they fought together a great 
batde, wherein Tunni fell. So King Egil took his 
realm to him, and the Danes went back home. 
King Egil sent King Frodi good gifts and great 
at each season, but paid no scat to the Danes, and 
yet held good the friendship twixt him and Frodi ; 
and after Tunni's fall King Egil ruled the realm 
alone yet three winters. 

It fell out in Sweden that there was a certain 
bull set apart for sacrifice, that waxed old, and 
was nourished so over abundantly that it grew 
outrageous ; and so when men would take him, he 
fled away into the woods, and went wild, and was 
long time in the thicket, and dealt dreadfully with 

46 The Saga Library. XXX 

men. Now King Egil was a mighty hunter, and 
oft he rode day-long through the woods a-hunting 
wild deer ; and so on a time, whenas he had ridden 
with his men to the hunting, the king chased a 
certain deer a long while, and had followed after 
it on the spur into the woods away from all his 
folk : then was he ware of that bull, and rode to 
him, and would slay him. The bull turned to meet 
him, and the king got a thrust at him, but the spear 
glanced from off him ; then the bull thrust his horn 
into the horse's flank, so that he fell flat, and the 
king with him. The king leaped to his feet, and 
would draw his sword, but the bull thrust his horns 
into the breast of the king, so that they stood deep 
therein. Then came the king's goodmen thereto, 
and slew the bull. The king lived but a little while, 
and was laid in mound at Upsala. Hereof says 

The happy of praise 
High kin of Tyr 
Must flee before 
The might of Tunni. 
The Jotun's yoke-beast 
Reddened thereafter 
The bull's head-sword 
J n the breast of Egil ; 

The beast who a great while 
Wide through the east-wood 
Had borne aloft 
The brow's high temple. 
Yea, and the sheathless 
Sword of the bull-beast 
Stood deep in the heart 
Of the son of the Skylfings. 

XXXI The Story of the Ynglings. 47 


OTTAR was the name of the son of Egil, 
and he took the reahii and kingdom after 
him. No friendship he held with King 
Frodi, so Frodi sent men to King Ottar to claim 
the scat which Egil had promised him. Ottar 
answered that the Swedes had never paid scat to 
the Danes, and said that neither would he do so 
now ; and therewith the messengers went their 
ways back. Now Frodi was a great warrior, and 
so on a certain summer he went with his host 
to Sweden, made the fray there, and harried, 
and slew many folk, and took some captives. 
There gat he exceeding great prey, and burnt 
and wasted the dwellings of men, and wrought the 
greatest deeds of war. But the next summer Frodi 
the king went a-warring in the East-Countries, and 
thereon King Ottar heard tell that King Frodi was 
not in the land ; so he went aboard his warships 
and made for Denmark, and harried there.and found 
nought to withstand him. Now he heard that men 
were gathered thick in Selund, and he turned 
west through Eyre-Sound, and then sailed south 
to Jutland, and lays his keels for Limbfirth, and 
harries about Vendil, and burns there, and lays 
the land waste far and wide whereso he came. 
Vatt and Fasti were Frodi's earls whom he had 
set to the warding of the land whiles he was away 
thence ; so when these earls heard that the Swede 
king was harrying in Denmark, they gathered force, 
and leapt a-shipboard, and sailed south to Limb- 

48 TJte Saga Library. XXXI 

firth, and came all unawares upon KingOttar, and 
fell to fighting ; but the Swedes met them well, 
and folk fell on either side ; but as the folk of the 
Danes fell, came more in their stead from the 
country-sides around, and all ships withal were 
laid to that were at hand. So such end the battle 
had, that there fell King Ottar, and the more part 
of his host. The Danes took his dead body and 
brought it a-land, and laid it on a certain mound, 
and there let wild things and common fowl tear the 
carrion. Withal they made a crow of tree and sent 
it to Sweden, with this word to the Swedes, that 
that King Ottar of theirs was worth but just so 
much as that ; so afterwards men called him Ottar 
Vendil-crow. So says Thiodolf : 

Into the ern's grip 
Fell the great Ottar, 
The doughty of deed, 
Before the Dane's weapons : 
When gledes of war 
With bloody feet 
Tore him about, 
And trod on Vendil. 

I hear these works 
Of Vatt and Fasti 
Were set in tale 
By Swedish folk : 
That Prodi's island's 
Earls between them 
Had slain the famous 

XXXII-III l^he story of tlieYiigliugs. 49 


ADILS was the name of King Ottar's son, 
who ruled in his stead. He was king a 
long while, an exceeding wealthy man, 
and went warring certain summers. Now King 
Adils came with his army to Saxland. A king 
reigned thereover called Gerthiof, and his wife was 
hight Alof the Mighty, but nought is told of their 
having children. This king was not in the land as 
then. So King Adils and his men rushed up to 
the king's stead and robbed there, and some drave 
down the herds to a strand-slaughtering. Certain 
bondfolk, both men and women, had had the wai-d- 
ing of the herd, and all these the king's men took 
with them : among these folk was a maiden won- 
drous fair, named Yrsa. So King Adils fared home 
with his war-gettincjs, and Yrsa was not left among^ 
the bondmaids : men speedily found that she was 
wise and fair-spoken, plenteous in knowledge of all 
matters, so they held her in great account, but the 
king most of all ; so that it came about that. King 
Adils wedded her, and Yrsa was queen in Sweden, 
and was deemed the erreatest of noble women. 



KING HELGI, the son of Halfdan, ruled 
in Hleithra in those days, and he came to 
Sweden with so great an host that King 
Adils saw nought for it but to flee away. So King 


50 The Saga L ibrary. XXXIII 

Helgi went ashore with his host and harried, and 
got plenteous pkinder, and laid hands on Yrsa the 
queen, and had her away with him to Hleithra, 
and wedded her, and their son was Rolf Kraki. 
But when Rolf was three winters old, then came 
Queen Alof to Denmark, and therewithal she told 
Queen Yrsa that King Helgi her husband was no 
less her father withal, and that she, Alof, was her 
mother. Then Yrsa went back to Sweden to King 
Adils, and was queen there ever after whiles she 
lived. King Helgi fell in battle whenas Rolf Kraki 
was eight winters old, who was straightway holden 
as king at Hleithra. King Adils had mighty strife 
with a king called Ali the Uplander from out of 
Norway. King Adils and King Ali had a battle 
on the ice of the Vener Lake, and Ali fell there, 
but Adils gained the day. Concerning this battle 
is much told in the Story of the Skioldungs, and 
also how Rolf Kraki came to Upsala to Adils; 
and that was when Rolf Kraki sowed gold on the 

Now King Adils had great joyance in good 
horses, and had the best horses of that time : 
Slinger was the name of one of his horses, and 
another he had called Raven ; him he took from 
Ali dead, and of him was begotten another horse 
who was called Raven, which he sent to Haloga- 
land to King Godguest ; and King Godguest 
backed him, but might not stay him ere he was 
cast from his back, and gat his bane thereby : and 
this befell at Omd, in Halogaland. 

Now King Adils happed to be at a sacrifice to 
the Goddesses, and rode his horse through the hall 

XXXIV The Story of the Ynglings. 5 1 

of the Goddesses ; and the horse tripped his feet 
under him, and he fell and the king fell forward 
from off him, so that his head smote on a stone, and 
he brake his skull, and the brains lay on the stones, 
whereby he gat his bane. y\dils died at Upsala, 
and was laid in mound there, and the Swedes 
called him a mighty king. So sings Thiodolf ; 

Still have I heard 

Of Adil's life-days, 

How that the witch-wight 

Should waste them wholly ; 

How the doughty king. 

The kin of Frey, 

Must fall adown 

From the steed's shoulder, 

And that the brain-sea 
Of the son of king-folk 
Was mingled all 
With miry grit. 
And the deed-famed 
Foe of Ali 
Even at Upsala 
Had his ending. 


EYSTE I N Avas the name of the son of Adils, 
who next ruled over the Swede-realm. 
In his days fell Rolf Kraki at Hleithra. 
At that time kings harried much in the realm of 
Sweden, both Danes and Norsemen. Many sea- 
kings there were, who were at the head of many 
folk, but had no lands : he alone was accounted 
aright a sea-king, who never slept under sooty 
roof-tree, nor ever drank in hearth-ingle. 

52 The Saga Library. XXXV 


THERE was a sea-king named Solvi, the 
son of Hogni of Niord's-isle, who in those 
days harried in the East-countries, and 
had a realm in Jutland withal. He made with his 
host for Sweden ; and at that time was King 
Eysteina-feastingin the country-side which is called 
Lofund. Thither came King Solvi on him un- 
wares and a-night-time, and beset the king in his 
house, and burned him therein with all his court. 
Then went Solvi to Sigtown, and bade folk name 
him king, and take him for the same ; but the 
Swedes gathered an host, and would defend the 
land, and a fight befell, so great that it is told 
thereof that it brakeoffneverfor the space of eleven 
days. Therein gat King Solvi the victory, and 
was king over the Swede-realm a long while, yea, 
until the Swedes betrayed him and he was slain. 
Hereof says Thiodolf: 

I know how Eystein's 
Ended life-thread 
Lieth hidden 
In Lofund country, 
And say the Swedes 
For sure, that Jute-folk 
Burnt indoors 
Their doughty ruler. 

The mountain-tangles' 

Biting sickness 

Ran on the king 

In the ship of the hearth-fires : 

XXXVI The story of the Yngliiigs. 53 

Then when the toft's-bark 
Hurnt o'er the king, 
And crowds of warriors. 


THEREAFTER was Yngvar, the son of 
King Eystein, king over the Swede- 
realm ; a great warrior was he, and was 
oft aboard warships, because in those days was 
the Swede-reahn much troubled by war, both of 
the Danes and the men of the East-countries. 
Now King Yngvar made peace with the Danes, 
and then fell to warring in the East-countries. 
One summer he had out his host, and fared to 
Esthonia, and harried there summer-long in the 
part called Stone. Thither came down the Estho- 
nian folk with a great army, and a battle befell ; 
but by such odds were the folk of the land greater, 
that the Swedes might not withstand them, and 
King Yngvar fell there, but his folk fled away. 
He was laid in mound there down by the very 
sea, whereas it is called Adalsysla. So the Swedes 
fared home after this overthrow. So says Thio- 

Forth flew the news 
How folk of Sysla 
Had Yngvar done 
To death a-fighting ; 
How Eastland folk 
Beside the Sea-heart 
Smote the fair-cheeked 
Chieftain deadly. 

54 The Saga Library. XXXVII 

Now the eastern sea 

Ever singeth 

Gymir's song 

For the Swede-king's joyance. 


ONUND was the son of Yngvar ; he was 
the next to take the kingdom in Sweden. 
In his day was there good peace in 
Sweden, and he was very rich in chattels. King 
Onund went with his army to Esthonia for the 
avenging of his father. He went up a-land with 
his host, and harried there far and wide, and got 
great plunder, and went back in autumn-tide to 
Sweden. In his days were there plenteous years 
in Sweden, and King Onund was best beloved of 
all kincrs. Now Sweden is a great woodland 
country, and such great wild-woods are therein, 
that it is many days' journey across them. So 
King Onund set himself with great care and cost 
to clearing the woods, and peopling the clearings ; 
he let also make ways through the wild- woods, and 
wide about therein was found woodless land, and 
thus great country-sides were peopled there. So 
bv this wise was the land widely settled, for the 
folk of the land were enow for the peopling thereof. 
Kingr Onund let cut roads throurfiout all Sweden, 
both through the woods and the mires, and the 
mountain wilds ; wherefore was he called Road- 
Onund. King Onund set up a manor of his 
in every shire of Sweden, and went through all the 
land a-guesting. 

XXXVIII The Stoyy of the Ynglings. 55 


ROAD-ONUND had a son hiVht Insriald. 
Now in those days was Yngvar king in 
Fiadrundaland, and he had two sons 
by his wife, one hight Alf, the other Agnar, and 
they were much of an age with Ingiald. Wide 
about Sweden in that time were there county- 
kings of Road-Onund, and Swipdag the BHnd 
ruled over Tentli-land. Upsala is in tliat county, 
and there is the Thing of all the Swedes holden ; 
and there also were great blood-offerings, and many 
kings sought thither : and that was about mid- 
winter. So on a certain winter were many folk 
come to Upsala, and King Yngvar was there, and 
his sons ; and both Alf, the son of King Yngvar, 
and Ingiald, the son of King Onund, were six 
winters old. So these fell to sporting as children 
use, and each was to rule over his own band, and 
so when they played together, then was Ingiald 
proven feebler than Alf, and so ill he deemed that, 
that he wept sore thereover. Then came to him 
Gautvid his foster-brother, and led him away to 
Swipdag the Blind his foster-father, and told him 
how it had gone ill with him, and that he was 
feebler and of less pith in the play than Alf, the 
son of King Yngvar. Then answered Swipdag 
that it was great shame thereof So the next 
day Swipdag let take the heart out of a wolf 
and roast it on a spit, and gave it thereafter to 
Ingiald, the king's son, to eat: and thenceforth 

56 The Saga Library. XXXIX 

became he the grimmest of all men, and the evilest- 

Now when Ingiald was come to man's estate, 
then King Onund wooed a wife for him, even 
Gauthikl, the daughter of King Algaut, who was 
the son of King Gautrek the Bounteous, the son 
of Gaut, after whom is Gautland named. King 
Algaut thought assuredly that his daughter would 
be exceeding well wedded if she were given to 
the son of King Onund, if so be he was of the 
same mind as his father. So the may was sent to 
Sweden, and Inmald wedded her in due time. 




NOW King Onund went from manor to 
manor of his in the autumn-tide with his 
court, and journeyed to a place called 
eavenheath, where there are certain strait moun- 
tain-valleys, with steep mountains on either side 
thereof. Heavy rain was falling at that tide, but 
before had snow fallen on the hills. So now there 
tumbled down a mighty slip with stones and clay ; 
but King Onund and his folk were in the way of 
that slip, and the king gat his death thereby, and 
many of his men with him. So says Thiodolf : 

Onund the king 

Was caught by tlie blTne 

Of Jonaker's sons 

Under the Heaven-fell. 

All unsparing 

On the Eastman's foeman 

XL The Story of the Yngliugs. 57 

Came the wrathful 
Corpse destroyer. 

There the handler 
Of Hogni's bulrush 
By the world's bones 
Was overwhelmed. 


THEN Ingiald, the son of King Onund, 
took the kingdom at Upsala. Now the 
Upsala kings were the master-kings in 
Sweden, whenas there were many county-kings 
therein, from the time that Odin was lord in 
Sweden ; but the chiefs that abode at Upsala were 
sole lords over the Swede-realm until that Agni 
died. But then was the realm first apportioned 
between brethren, as is afore writ ; and afterwards 
the realm and kingdom drifted apart amongst kin, 
even as these were sundered ; but some of these 
kings cleared great woodlands and peopled them, 
and thereby eked out their realms. But when 
King Ingiald took the realm and kingdom, were 
there many county-kings, as is written afore. 
Now Kincr Incjiald let set afoot a cfreat feast at 
Upsala, with the mind to hold the heirship feast 
over his father, King Onund ; and he let array a 
certain hall, neither less nor less seemly than the 
hall at Upsala, and he called it the hall of the 
Seven Kings, and there were made therein seven 

King Ingiald sent men all over Sweden, and 

58 The Saga Library. XL 

bade to him kings and earls, and other men of 
note. To this feast came Kinij Aljraut, the father- 
in-law of Ingiald, and King Yngvar of Fiadrunda- 
land, with his two sons, Alf and Agnar ; King 
Sporsniallr withal of Nerick, and Sigvat, King of 
Eighth-land. But Granmar, King of Southman- 
land, was not come. So six kings were set down in 
the new hall ; but one high-seat of those that King 
Ingiald had let make wasemptj-. All the folk that 
had come thither had place in the new hall ; but 
Kin"- Injjiald had settled his own court and fjood- 
men in the hall of Upsala. Now the custom it was 
of those days that when an heirship feast was to be 
holden over kings or earls, he who made the said 
feast, and was to be brought to his heritage, should 
sit on a stool before the high-seat, until such time 
as the cup was borne in, which was called the 
Bragi-cup : then should he stand up to meet the 
Bragi-cup, and take oath, and drink out the cup 
thereafter, and then be led into the high-seat 
that was his father's, and thus was he fully come 
into the heritage of all things after him. 

Now in like ways was it done here, for when 
the Bragi-cup came in, uprose Ingiald the king, 
and took a great bull's horn, and took even such an 
oath that he would increase his realm by the half on 
every one of the four quarters of heaven, or else 
would die ; and therewithal he drank out the horn. 
But when men were drunken a-night-time, then 
spake King Ingiald to Gautvid and Hulvid, the 
sons of Swipdag, and bade them arm with all their 
folk, even as had been laid down aforehand that 
same night. So they went out to the new hall 

XLI The Story of the Yngliugs. 59 

and bare fire thereto ; and so then the hall fell 
ablaze, and the six kings were burned therein with 
all their folk, but all those who sought to come out 
were slain speedily. 

Thereafter Kin;/ Iny;iald laid under him all the 
dominions that these kings had owned, and took 
scat therefrom. 


KING GRAN MAR heard the tidings of 
all this bewrayal, and he deemed it might 
well be that the same fate was brewing 
for him, if he paid not good heed thereto. That 
same summer Hiorvard the king, who was called 
the Ylfing, came with his host to Sweden, and 
laid his ships in the firth called Mirk-firth. But 
when King Granmar knew that, he sent men to 
him, and bade him come feast with him with all 
his men ; and he took the biddincj crladlv, because 
he had not harried the realm of Kintr Granmar. 
So when he came to the feast, there was the wel- 
come goodly. And so in the evening when the cup 
came in, it was the wont of those kings who abode 
at home that at the feasts which they let make, folk 
should drink benights two and two, to every man 
a woman, as far as men and women would pair, 
and then the odd tale of them apart together ; but 
the viking law was it that they should drink all in 
company, even when they were a-guesting. Now the 
hisjh-seat of King: Hiorvard was digfht over arainst 
the high-seat of King Granmar, and all his men 

6o The Saga Library. XLI 

sat on that dais. Then King Granmar bade his 
daughter Hildigunna to array herself and bear ale 
to the vikings ; and she was the fairest of all 
women. So she took a silver bowl and filled it, 
and went before King Hiorvard, and spake : 
" Hail to ye all, O Ylfings ! This in memory of 
Rolf Kraki ! " And therewith she drank the half 
of the cup, and then gave it unto King Hiorvard. 

Now he took the cup, yea, and her hand withal, 
and bade her sit beside him ; but she said it was 
not the use of vikings to drink sitting paired with 
women. Hiorvard answered and said, it was 
more like that now he would for a shift do this, to 
let the viking law go somewhat, and drink paired 
with her. Then sat Hildigunna beside him, and 
they drank together, and talked of many things 
that evening. But the next day when the kings 
met, even Granmar and Hiorvard, Hiorvard fell 
to his wooing, and bade for Hildigunna. 

King Granmar laid the matter before Hild his 
wife, and other great folk of his realm, and said that 
they would have great avail in King Hiorvard. 
Good rumour there was thereat, and to all it 
seemed well counselled, and so the end was that 
Hildifjunna was betrothed to Kino- Hiorvard, and 
he wedded her. Hiorvard was to dwell with King 
Granmar, because he had no son born to ward his 
realm for him. 

XLII The Story of the YiigUngs. 6i 


THAT same autumn King Ingiald gathered 
force with the mind to fall on those folk 
allied ; he had an host out from all those 
realms which he had aforetime laid under him. 
But when those kin-in-law heard thereof, they 
cjathered force in their realm, and there came to 
their helping King Hogni and Hildir his son, who 
ruled over East Gautland : Hogni was the father 
of Hild, whom Granmar had to wife. So King 
Ingiald went up a-land with all his host, and had 
overwhelming odds against them. Now they 
meet in battle, and of the hardest it was; but when 
they had fought a little while, there fled away the 
lords who ruled over Fiadrundaland and West 
Gautland and Nerick and Eighth-land, with all 
the host that were come from those lands, and gat 
them to the ships. Then was Ingiald hard bestead 
and gat many wounds, and therewith fled away to 
his ships; but Swipdag the Blind, his foster-father, 
fell there, and both his sons, Gautvid and Hulvid. 
King Ingiald fared back to Upsala with things in 
such a plight, and was ill-content with his journey, 
and deemed it well to be seen that the host which he 
had from his realm conquered by war would be but 
untrusty. Sore war there was afterwards betwixt 
King Ingiald and King Granmar; but when a long 
while things had thus o-one on, the friends of either 
of them brought it so about that they made truce. 

62 The Saga Library. XLIII 

and the kings appointed a meeting between them- 
selves, and they met and made peace together, 
even King- Incriald and King Granmar and King 
Hiorvard his son-in-law; and the peace should 
hold good betwixt them whiles they all three lived ; 
and it was bound by oath and troth. The next 
spring went King Granmar to Upsala to the blood- 
offering, as the wont was at the coming of summer, 
for good peace ; and suchwise the lot fell to him 
thereat that he would not live long : so he went 
back home to his realm. 


THE next autumn fared King Granmar and 
King Hiorvard his son-in-law to guesting 
in the isle called Sili at their own manor 
therein ; and so while they were at this feasting, 
thither came King Ingiald with his army on a 
night, and took the house over them, and burned 
them therein with all their folk. Thereafter he 
laid under him all the realm which those kings 
had had, and set lords over it. But King Hogni 
and Hildir his son would oft ride up in the 
Swede-realm, and slay those men of Ingiald's 
whom he had set over the realm of King Granmar 
their kinsman-in-law. So for a long while was 
there mighty strife betwixt King Hogni and King 
Ingiald ; nevertheless King Hogni held his realm 
in King Ingiald's despite even to his death-day. 

King Ingiald had two children by his wife, the 
eldest (a daughter) was called Asa, and the other, 

XLIV TJie Story of the Y)igliiigs. 63 

Olaf the Tree-shaver ; but this lad Gauthild, the 
wife of King Ingiald, sent to Rovi her foster-father 
in West Gautland, and there was lie reared along 
with Saxi, the son of Bovi, who was called the 

Now men say that King Ingiald slew twelve 
kings, and betrayed them all whenas they trusted 
in him ; he was called Ingiald Evil-heart, and 
was king over the greater part of Sweden. Asa, 
his daughter, he wedded to Gudrod, King of 
Scania ; she was of like mind to her father. Asa 
brought it about that Gudrod slew his brother 
Halfdan ; but Halfdan was the father of Ivar 
Wide-fathom. Withal Asa accomplished the death 
of Gudrod her husband, and then fled away to her 
father ; and she was called Asa Evil-heart. 


IVAR WIDE-FATHOM came to Scania 
after the fall of Gudrod, his father's brother, 
and straightway gathered together a great 
host, and went his ways up Swedenward. Now 
Asa Evil-heart was before that gone to her 
lather; but King Ingialdwasa-feastingat hismanor 
of Raening when he knew that the host of King 
Ivaf was come anigh; nor did he deem that he 
was of might to meet King Ivar in battle; and, 
on the other hand, he deemed it certain that, 
if he fled away, his foes would gather together 
against him from every side. So he and Asa fell 
to that counsel which has now become far-famed, 

64 77/6' Sao-a Libmry. XLV 

for they made all their folk dead drunk, and then 
let lay fire in the hall, and the hall burned there, 
and all the folk that were therein, along with King 
Ino;-iald and Asa. So savs Thiodolf : 


There was Ingiald 

Trod to his ending 

By the reek-flinger 

At Rrening manor : 

When tlie house-thief 

Fiery footed 

Stalked through and through 

The God-sprung king. 

And such betiding, 
All the people 
Of Swedes must deem it 
Most seldom told of ; 
When he himself 
His life of valour 
The first of all men 
Must make nought of 


IVAR WIDE-FATHOM laid under him all 
the Swede-realm, and he gat to him all Den- 
mark withal, great part of Saxon-land and all 
the East-realm, and the fifth part of England. Of 
his kin are all who since him have been kings of 
Denmark, and Sweden also, such as have been 
sole kings thereof; for after Ingiald Evil-heart 
the dominion of Upsala fell from the kin of the 
Ynglings, that may be told up by the straight line 
of forefathers. 

XLVI The Story of the Ynglings. 65 


OLAF, the son of King Ingiald, when he 
heard tell of the fall of his father, fared 
with such folk as would follow him ; be- 
cause the whole assembly of the Swedes rose up 
with one accord for the driving away of the kin 
of King Ingiald and all his friends. Olaf fared 
first into the parts of Nerick. But when the 
Swedes heard of him, where he was, then he might 
no more abide there ; so he went west by the wild- 
wood ways to the river which falls from the north 
into the Vener, and is called the Elf There he 
dwelt with his folk, and they fell to clearing of the 
woods and burning them, and there sithence they 
abode ; and in a little there grew up there great 
peopled country-sides, and they called the land 
Vermland, and exceeding good land was there. But 
when it was told of King Olaf in Sweden that he 
was clearing the woods, then they called him Olaf 
Tree-shaver, deeming his ways worthy of mocking. 
Olaf had to wife her who is called Solveig or Solva, 
the daughter of HalfdanGold-tooth west of Sol-isles. 
Halfdan was the son of Solvi, the son of Solvar, the 
son of Solvi the Old, who first cleared Sol-isles. 
The mother of Olaf Tree-shaver was Gauthild; but 
her mother was Alof, daughter of Olaf the Far- 
sighted, King of Nerick. Olaf and Solveig 
had two sons, Ingiald and Halfdan ; and Halfdan 
was reared in Sol-isles with Solvi, his mother's 
brother, and was called Halfdan White-leg. 


66 The Saga Library. XLVII 


NOW there were much folk who were 
outlaws that fled from Sweden from 
King Ivar, and they heard that Olaf 
Tree-shaver had good land in Vermland ; and 
there flocked to him so many folk that the land 
might not bear them, so that there befell great 
famine and hunger ; which evil they laid to the ac- 
count of their king, as is the wont of the Swedes 
forsooth, to lay upon their kings both plenty and 

Now King Olaf was a man but little mVen to 
blood-offering, and the Swedes were ill content 
therewith, and deemed that thence came the 
scarcity. So they drew together a great host, 
and fell on King Olaf, and took the house over 
him, and burned him therein, and gave him to 
Odin, offering him up for the plenty of the year. 
This befell by the Vener ; as says Thiodolf : 

By the side of the lake 

The temple-wolf swallowed 

The body of Olaf, 

Of him the tree-shaver : 

And there the glede-wrapt 

Son of Forniot 

Did off the raiment 

Of the king of the Swede-realm. 

So the high king 
Sprung from the kin 
Of the Upsal lords 
Died long ago. 

XLVIII-IX The Story of the Ynglings. 67 


SUCH as were wisest among the Swedes now 
found out that what had wrought the famine 
was, that the folk were more than the land 
might bear, and that the king had nought at all to 
do with it. Now they fall to and fare with all their 
host west over the Eidwood, and come down upon 
Sol-isles all unawares. There they slew King Solvi, 
but laid hands on Halfdan White-leg, and took 
him to be lord over them, and gave him the name 
of king, and he subdued Sol-isles to him. There- 
after he went with his host out to Raumrick, and 
warred there, and won that folk in war. 


HALFDAN WHITE-LEG was a mighty 
king : he had to wife Asa, the daughter 
of Eystein the Terrible, King of the 
Uplands, who ruled over Heathmark. Halfdan 
and Asa had two sons, Eystein and Gudrod. Half- 
dan gat to him much of Heathmark and Thotn 
and Hadaland, and great part of Westfold withal: 
he lived to be old, and died in his bed at Thotn, but 
was afterwards brought out to Westfold, and laid in 
mound in Skaereid at Skiringsal. So says Thiodolf : 

All folk know it 
How fate bereft 
The law-upholders 
Of Lord Halfdan : 

68 The Saga Library. L-LI 

How the hill-wards' 
Helpsome daughter 
There in Thotn 
Took the folk-king. 
Lo now, Skaereid 
In Skiringsal 
Hangs over the bones 
Of the elf of the byrny. 


INGIALD, the brother of Halfdan, was king 
of Vermland ; but after his death Halfdan 
laid Vermland under him, and took scat 
thereof, and set earls thereover whiles he lived. 


EYSTEIN, son of King Halfdan, was king 
after him in Raumrick and Westfold. 
He had to wife Hild, the daughter of 
Eric, son of Agnar, who was king of Westfold. 
Agnar, the father of Eric, was the son of Sigtrygg, 
the king of Vendil. King Eric had no son, and 
died while King Halfdan White-leg was yet alive. 
So Halfdan and Eystein his son took to them all 
Westfold, and Eystein ruled Westfold while he 
lived. In that time was Skiold king of Varna, and 
a mighty wizard he was. Now King Eystein 
went with certain warships over to Varna and 
harried there, and took whatso he came across, both 
raiment and other goods, and the gear of the 
bonders withal, and had a strand-slaughtering 

LI I The Story of the Yvglings. 69 

there, and then he went his ways. Then came 
King Skiold down to the strand with his host, but 
King Eystein was gone away, and had crossed 
over the firth, and Skiold beheld the sails of him. 
Then he took his cloak and waved it abroad, and 
blew therewith. And so as they sailed in past 
Earl's-isle, King Eystein sat by the tiller, and 
another ship was sailing anigh, and so amid a cer- 
tain cross-sea, the sail-yard of the other ship smote 
the king overboard, and he gat his bane thereby. 
His men got his dead corpse, and it was brought 
to Borro, and a mound heaped up over it at the 
ending of the land out by the sea beside Vadla. 
So says Thiodolf : 

King Eystein, smitten 
By stroke of sail-yard, 
To the may of the brother 
Of Byleist fared : 
The feast's bestower 
His rest now findeth 
Neath the sea's bones 
By the shore's ending. 

Where by the Goth-king 
Cometh ever 
The stream of Vadla 
Ice-cold to the great sea. 


IT ALFDAN was the name of King 
— I Eystein's son, who took the kingdom 
I after him. He was called Halfdan the 
Bounteous and the Meat-grudging ; for it is told of 

yo The Saga Libya ry. LI 1 1 

him that he gave in pay to his warriors as many 
pennies of gold as other kings were wont to give 
pennies of silver, yet he kept men short of meat. 
A (jreat warrior he was, and longr time cruised a- 
wan'infr, and Sfat wealth to him. He had to wife 
Hlif, the daughter of King Day of Westmere. 
Holtar in Westfold was his chief manor. Here he 
died in his bed, and was laid in mound at Borro ; 
even as Thiodolf says : 

To the Thing of Odin 
Was the king then bidden 
By Hvedrung's Maiden 
From the homes of men-folk ; 
Whenas King Halldan, 
Dweller at Holtar, 
The doom of Norns 
Had done fulfilling. 

And battle-winners 
Their warrior-king 
Buried in mound 
At Borro later. 


GUDROD was the name of Halfdan's son, 
who took the kingdom after him. He 
was called Gudrod the Proud, but some 
called him the Hunter-king. He had a wife called 
Elfhild, the daughter of Alfarin of Elfhome, and 
had with her one half of Yingulmark. Their son 
was Olaf, who was afterwards called Geirstead Elf. 
Pllfhome was then the name of the land betwixt 
Raumelf and Gautelf. Now when Elfhild was 
dead, then sent King Gudrod his men west to 

L 1 1 1 TJie Stoyy of the Ynglings. 7 1 

Agdir, to the king who ruled thereover, who was 
named Harald Red-lip, and they were to woo of 
him for their king Asa his daughter ; but Harald 
said them nay. So the messengers came back and 
told the king of the speeding of their errand. So 
a little after King Gudrod thrust his ships into the 
water, and went with a great host out to Agdir. 
He came all unwares, and raised the fray, 
coming a-night-time to King Harald's dwelling; 
but he, when he knew that war was upon him, 
went out with such folk as he had, and a fight 
there was, but over-great were the odds betwixt 
them, and King Harald fell there with his son 
Gyrd. King Gudrod took great booty, and had 
home with him Asa, daughter of King Harald, 
and wedded her, and they had a son called Half- 
dan. But when Halfdan was one winter old, in 
the autumn-tide fared King Gudrod a-guesting, 
and lay on his ship in Stifla-sound, and great 
drinkings there were, and the king was very merry 
with drink. So in the evening when it was dark 
the king went from the ship, but whenas he came 
to the gangway end, then ran a man against him 
and thrust him through with a spear, and that was 
his bane ; but the man was slain straightway. 
But in the morninsf when it was lisfht the man was 
known for Queen Asa's footpage ; neither did she 
hide that it was done by her rede. So says 

Lo, King Gudrod, 
Great of heart, 
Dead yore agone. 
By treason died ; 

72 The Saga Library. LIV 

A head revengeful, 
False rede and evil, 
Wrought on the king, 
By ale made merry ; 

And Asa's man, 
The evil traitor, 
^V'on by murder 
The mighty king : 
So e'en the king 
On the ancient bed 
Of Stifla-sound 
Was stung to dying. 


OLAF took the kingdom after his father. 
He was a mighty man and a great war- 
rior ; the fairest and strongest of all men, 
and great of growth. Westfold he had, becau-se 
in those days King Elfgeir took under him all 
Vingulmark, and set thereover King Gandalf his 
son. Then the father and son drave hard into 
Raumrick, and gained the more part of that realm 
and people. Hogni was the son of King Eystein 
the Mighty, King of the Uplands; and he laid 
under him all Heathmark and Thotn and Hada- 
land ; and therewithal fell Yermland from the sons 
of Gudrod, and that folk turned them to paying 
tribute to the Swede king. Now Olaf was twenty 
years old whenas Gudrod died, but when Halfdan 
his brother came to the realm along with him, then 
they shared the realm betwixt them ; Olaf had the 
eastern part, but Halfdan the southern. King 

LV The Story of the Ynglings. 73 

Olaf had his abode at Geirstead, but he gat a 
disease in his foot, and died thereof, and is laid in 
mound at Geirstead. So sings Thiodolf : 

A line descended 
From Thror the mi};hty 
Had thriven well 
'I'hus far in Norvvay. 
Wide through Westmere 
While agone 
King Olaf ruled 
The land right proudly ; 

Until the foot-ache 
By the earth's ending, 
Brought unto nought 
That battle-dealer. 
The bold in warfare 
At Geirstead bideth ; 
There is the howe heaped 
Over the host-king. 


ROGNVALD was the son of King Olaf, 
who was king in Westfold after his father. 
He was called Higher-than-the-Hills, and 
of him did Thiodolf of Hvin make the Yngling- 
Tale. And so sayeth he : 

That know I best 
Neath the blue heavens 
Of eke-names ever 
Owned of king, 
Whereas King Rognvalil 
Who rules the rudder, 
Is hight most titly. 




IX ALFDAN was one winter old when his 
— I father fell. Asa, his mother, went forth- 
J^ with west to Agdir, and straightway be- 
toolc her to the realm her father Harald had had. 
There waxed Halfdan, and was big and strong even 
in his early years, and black-haired withal ; he was 
called Halfdan the Black. When he was eighteen 
winters old he took the rule in Agdir, and straight- 
way he went to Westfold and shared the realm 
with Olaf his brother. 

That same autumn he went with an army to 
Vingulmark against KingGandalf,and many battles 
they had together, and now one, now the other 
had the victory ; but in the end they made peace 
in such wise, that Halfdan was to have the half of 
Vingulmark that his father Gudrod had had. 
Thereafter fared King Halfdan up into Raumrick, 
and laid it unto him ; whereof heard King Sigtrygg, 
the son of King Eystein, who as then abode in 
Heathmark, and had aforetime subdued Raumrick. 
Then went King Sigtrygg with an host against 

yS The Saga Library. II 

Kino- Halfdan, and a Qfreat battle befell, and Kinof 
Halfdan gained the day. So as the host broke 
into flight was King Sigtrygg smitten by an arrow 
under the left armpit, and he fell there. There- 
after King Halfdan laid all Raumrick under him. 
Eystein was another son of King Eystein, and 
the brother of King Sigtrj'gg, and was then king 
in Heathmark ; and whenas King Halfdan was 
gone west to Westfold, King Eystein went with 
his host west to Raumrick, and laid the land there 
under him far and wide. 


there was war in Raumrick, so he drew an 
host together, and fared into Raumrick 
to meet King Eystein, and they had a battle there, 
and Halfdan gained the day, and Eystein fled away 
up into Heathmark. King Halfdan followed after 
him up into Heathmark with his host, and they had 
another battle there, and Halfdan prevailed ; but 
Eystein fled north into the Dales to Gudbrand the 
Hersir. Thence he gat together men, and went in 
the winter out into Heathmark, and met Halfdan 
in a great island which lies amidst the lake of 
Miors ; there had they battle, and many men fell 
on either side, but Halfdan gained the day. There 
fell Guthorm, the son of Gudbrand the Hersir, who 
was deemed the hopefullest man of the Uplands. 
Then Eystein fled again north into the Dales, and 
sent Hallvard Rascal, his kinsman, to meet King 

Ill The Story of Ha If dan the Black. 79 

Halfdan and bespeak peace with him. So for kin- 
ship's sake King Halfdan gave up to King Eystein 
the half of Heathmark even as those kinsfolk had 
owned it aforetime ; but Halfdan brought Thotn 
under him, and the place called the Land, and he 
gained to him Hadaland also, and was withal an 
exceeding mighty kmg. 


Iy ALFDAN THE BLACK took to wife 
— I a woman named Ragnhild, the daughter 
J_ of Harald Gold-beard, Kingof Sogn; a 
son they had, to whom the king Harald gave his 
own name, and the child was reared at Sogn, in the 
house of King Harald, his mother's father. But 
whenas Harald was clean worn out by years, and 
was childless, he gave his realm to Harald, his 
daughter's son, and let him be made king, and a 
little after died Harald Gold-beard. That same 
winter died Ragnhild his daughter ; and the spring 
after King Harald the Young fell sick and died in 
Sogn, when he was already ten years old. But as 
soon as Halfdan the Black heard of his death, he 
went his ways with a great host, and came north 
to Sogn, and was well taken to by folk ; so there 
he claimed for himself the kingdom and heritage 
after his son, nor was there any to withstand him, 
and so he brought that realm under him. Then 
came to him Atli the Slender, Earl of Gaular, who 
was a friend of King Halfdan, and the king set 
this Earl Atli over the folk of Sogn to be judge 

8o TJic Saga Library. IV 

there by the law of the land, and to gather together 
the scat for the king's hands. Then went King 
Halfdan thence to his kingdom in the Uplands. 


KING HALFDAN went in the autumn 
out to Vingulmark ; and so on a night 
whenas King Halfdan was a-feasting, 
there came to him at midnight the man who 
had holden the horse-ward, and told him that an 
host was come nigh to the stead. Then the king 
arose straightway, and bade his men arm, and 
therewith he went without and arrayed them. But 
even therewith were come thither Hysing and 
Helsina:, the sons of Gandalf, with a grreat host, and 
there was a great battle. But whereas King Half- 
dan was overborne by multitude, he must needs 
flee away to the woods, having lost many men : 
there fell Olvir the Sage, his foster-father. There- 
after much folk drew toward King Halfdan, and 
he went to seek the sons of Gandalf, and met them 
at Eydi by the Eyna-skerries, and there they 
fought, and Hysing and Helsing fell, but Haki 
their brother fled away. After that King Halfdan 
laid all Vingulmark under him; but Haki fled into 

V The Story of Half dan the Black. 8 1 


SIGURD HARTwas the nameofakingof 
Ringrick ; he was bigger and stronger 
than any other man, and the fairest to look 
on of all men. His father was Helgi the Keen, but 
his mother was Aslauof, the daugrhter of Sigfurd 
Worm-in-Eye, the son of Ragnar Lodbrok. 

So tells the tale, that Sigurd was but twelve 
winters old when he slew Hildibrand the Bareserk 
and the whole twelve of them in single combat ; 
many a work of fame he won, and long is the 
tale told of him. Now Sigurd had two children : 
Ragnhild was the name of his daughter, the grandest 
of all women, and she was at this tide twenty 
years old ; but Guthorm, her brother, was but a 
youngling. Now it is told about the death of 
King Sigurd, that he would ride out alone into 
the wild-woods, even as his wont was : for he 
would hunt beasts great and hurtful to men, and 
exceeding eager he was herein. 

So on a day whenas Sigurd had ridden a long 
way, he came into a certain clearing near by 
Hadaland, and there came against him Haki the 
Bareserk with thirty men, and they fought there. 
There fell Sigurd Hart, and twelve men of Haki, 
and he himself lost his hand and had three other 
wounds. Thereafter rode Haki with his men to 
the dwelling of Sigurd, and took there Ragnhild 
his daughter, and Guthorm her brother, and had 


82 TJie Saga Library. V 

them away with him, with much wealth and many 
o-oodly things, and bore them home to Hadaland, 
where he had great manors. Tlien he let array a 
feast, and was minded to wed Ragnhild, but the 
matter was stayed, because it went ill with his 

So Haki the Hadaland-bareserk lay wounded 
through harvest-tide, and till winter began. 

But at Yuletide King Halfdan was guesting in 
Heathmark, and had heard all these tidings. So 
on a morning early, when the king was clad, he 
called to him Harek the Wolf, and bade him fare 
over to Hadaland, and bring him Ragnhild, the 
daughter of Sigurd Hart. Harek arrayed him, 
and had a company of an hundred men. So he sped 
his journey, that in the grey of the morning they 
came over the water to Haki's stead, and took all 
the doors of the hall wherein the housecarles slept. 
Then went theyto Haki's sleeping-bower, and brake 
it open, and took thenceaway Ragnhild and Guth- 
orm her brother, and all the wealth that was there, 
and the hall and all men therein they burnt up. 
Then they tilted over a wain in most seemly wise, 
and set Ragnhild therein and Guthorm, and so 
went their ways back unto the ice. 

Haki arose and went after them awhile, but 
when he came to the frozen water, then he set the 
hilts of his sword downward, and fell on the point 
thereof, so that the sword ran through him, and 
there he gat his bane ; and he is buried there on 
the water-bank. 

Now King Halfdan saw how they fared over 
the ice, for he was the keenest-eyed of all men, 

VI The Story of Ha If dan the Black. 83 

and when he saw the tilted wain, he deemed full 
surely that their errand had sped as he would have 
it ; so he let lay out the tables, and sent men wide 
through the country-side and bade many men to 
him ; and good feast there was holden that day, 
for at that feast King Halfdan wedded Ragnhild, 
and she was a mighty queen thereafter. Now the 
mother of Ragnhild was Thorny, daughter of 
Klack-Harald, the King of Jutland, and sister of 
Thyri Denmark's Weal, the wife of King Gorm 
the Old, King of the Danes, who swayed the Dane- 
realm in those davs. 


QUEEN RAGNHILD dreamed great 
dreams, for wise of wit she was ; and this 
'"'^ was a dream of hers : She thought she 
stood in her grass-garth, and took a thorn out of 
her smock ; and even whiles she held it, it waxed 
so, that it grew into a great rod, so that one end 
smote down into the earth and struck fast root 
therein ; but the other end of the tree went high 
up aloft ; and even therewith it seemed to her a 
tree so great that she might scarce see over it; 
yea, and wondrous thick it was : now the lower 
part of this tree was red as blood, but the bole 
thereof fair-green, and goodly, and the limbs up 
about as white as snow. Many and great branches 
there were on the tree, some aloft and some alow ; 
and the limbs of the tree were so great, that she 
deemed they spread all over Norway ; yea, and 
far wider yet. 

84 The Saga Library. VII 


KING HALFDAN dreamed never ; and 
he deemed that a wondrous thing, and 
opened his mind on it to a man named 
Thorleif the Sage, and sought rede of him how to 
amend it. Thorleif told him what he was wont to 
do if he were curious in any matter, to wit, that he 
went to sleep in a swine-sty, and then lacked not 
ever of dreams. So the king did so, and this 
dream came to him : for he thought he had the 
fairest hair of any man, and it all fell in locks, some 
low down till they touched the earth, some to mid- 
leg, some to the knee, some to the loins or the 
midst of his side, some to the neck of him, and 
some but just springing up from his head like little 
horns ; of diverse hues were these locks, but one 
lock prevailed above all the others for fairness and 
brightness and greatness. 

So he told his dream to Thorleif, and he areded 
it in such wise, that great offspring would come of 
him, and that his kin would rule over lands with 
great honour, yet not all with the like honour, 
and that one would come of his kin greater 
and higher than all : and men hold it for sooth 
that that lock must betoken King Olaf the 

Now King Halfdan was a wise man, trusty 
and upright ; he made laws, and heeded them 
himself, and made all others heed them, lest the 
high hand should overthrow the law. He him- 
self made a tale of blood-guilts, and settled duly 

VIII Tlte Story of Half dan the Black. 85 

the weregjilds for each man after his birth and 

Now Oueen Rao-nhild bore a son, and he was 
sprinkled with water and named Harald, and he 
speedily grew big, and the fairest that might be : 
there he waxed, and was of right great prowess 
from his early days, and well stored with wit and 
wisdom ; his mother loved him much, but his 
father not so much. 


KING HALFDAN was abiding through 
Yule-tide in Hadaland, and a marvel 
befell there on Yule-eve, whenas men had 
gone to table, and there were many men there. For 
lo, all the victual vanished from off the boards and 
all the good drink withal : so the king sat behind 
heavy of mood, and every man else made for his 
own home. But the king, to the end that he might 
know what had brought this thing about, let take a 
certain Finn, who was a great wizard, and would 
wring a true tale out of him, and tormented him, 
but oat nought of him. 

Now the Finn cried ever for help on Harald, 
the king's son, and Harald prayed grace for him 
and gat it not ; yet Harald delivered him, and let 
him go his ways, against the will of the king, 
and followed after him himself. So they came on 
their journey to where a lord held a great feast, 
and by seeming had goodly welcome there. So 
when they had abided there till spring-tide, then 

86 The Sam Libnii'v. IX 


spake the Lord to Harald on a day, and said : 
" Great todo maketh thy father of his loss, 
in that ^ve took a little victual from him last 
winter ; but with a fair tale will I reward thee 
that. Lo now, thy father is dead, and thou shalt 
go thy ways home, and thou wilt get to thee all 
the realm that thy father had, and therewith shalt 
thou become the Lord of all Norway." 


— I a feast at Hadaland, and the road led 
JL him in such wise that he drave over the 
water of Rand. Spring-tide it was, and the sun 
was thawing all swiftly ; so as they drave over 
Rykinswick, there in the winter-tide had been 
wakes for the neat, but the muck had fallen on 
the ice and made holes therein by reason of the 
sun's thawing; but when the king drave thereover, 
the ice brake under him, and there was King 
Halfdan lost and much folk with him : he was by 
then forty years old. 

He had been of all others a king of plenteous 
years ; and so much men made of him, that when 
they heard he was dead, and his body brought to 
Ringrick, where folk were minded to bury it, 
then came great lords from Raumrick and West- 
fold and Heathmark, and all prayed to have the 
corpse with them, to lay it in mound among their 
own folk, deeming that they who got it might look 
to have plenteous years therewith : so at last they 

IX The Stoyy of Halfdaii the Black. 87 

agreed to share the body in lour, and the head 
Avas laid in mound at Stone, in Ringrick. Then of 
the others each took away their share, and laid it 
in mound; and all the mounds are called Halfdan's 
mounds. i 




1' T' ING HARALD took the kingdom after 
^ his fatlier when he was but ten winters 
. ^^ old ; he was the biggest of all men, the 
strongest, and the fairest to look on ; a wise man, 
and very high-minded. Guthorm, his mother's 
brother, was made ruler of his bodyguard, and of 
all matters pertaining to his lands ; withal he was 
duke of the host. 

Now after the death of King Halfdan the Black 
many chieftains fell on the realm he had left, and 
the first man of these was King Gandalf, and 
those brethren Hogni and Frodi, the sons of King 
Eystein of Heathmark ; Hogni Karason also was 
abroad far and wide through Ringrick. Then 
Haki Gandalfson also arrayed him to fare out to 
Westfold with three hundred men, and went the 
inland roads through certain dales, being minded to 
fall on King Harald unawares; but Kincj Gandalf 
abode with his host in his land with intent to put 
across the firth, he and his army, into Westfold. But 

92 The Saga Libniyy. II 

when Duke Guthorm heard thereof he gathered an 
army and went his ways with King Harald. And 
first he goes to meet Haki up country, and they met 
in a certain dale, and there was a battle fought, and 
King Harald had the victory, but King Haki fell 
there, and a great part of his folk, even at the 
place sithence called Hakisdale. Then back wend 
King Harald and Duke Guthorm, but by then 
was King Gandalf come into Westfold, and so 
each goes to meet the other, and when they met 
was a hard fight foughten, but thence away fled 
King Gandalf, and lost the more part of his men, 
and came home to his own realm with things in 
such a plight. And when these tidings come to 
the sons of King Eystein of Heathmark, they looked 
to have an host upon them speedily, so they send 
word to Hogni Karason and Hersir Gudbrand, 
and appoint a meeting between them at Ringsacre 
in Heathmark. 


AFTER these battles fared King Harald 
and Duke Guthorm with all the host 
they may get, and wend toward the Up- 
lands, going much by the woodland ways, and 
they hear where the Upland kings have appointed 
their muster, and come thither a-midnight, nor 
were the warders aware of them till an host was 
come before the very house wherein was Hogni 
Karason, yea, and that wherein slept Gudbrand ; 
so they set fire to both of them, but Eystein's sons 

1 1 1 The Story of Harald Hairfair. 93 

got out with their men and fought a while, and 
there fell both Hogni and Frodi. 

After the fall of these four lords, King Harald, 
by the might and furtherance of Guthorm his kins- 
man, got to him Ringrick and Heathrnark, Gud- 
brand's-dales and Hadaland, Thotn, and Raum- 
rick, and all the northern parts of Vingulmark. 
Thereafter had King Harald and Duke Guthorm 
war and battles with King Gandalf with such end 
that Gandalf fell in the last battle, and King 
Harald got to him all his realm south away to 


KING HARALD sent his men after a 
certain maiden called Gyda, the daughter 
of King Eric of Hordaland, and she was 
at fostering at Valldres with a rich bonder. Now 
the king would fain have her to his bed-mate, 
because she was a maiden exceeding fair, and 
withal somewhat high-minded. So when the messen- 
gers came there, they put forth their errand to the 
maiden, and she answered in this wise : 

" I will not waste my maidenhood for the taking 
to husband of a king who has no more realm to 
rule over than a few Folks. Marvellous it seems 
to me," she says, " that there be no king minded 
to make Norway his own, and be sole lord thereof 
in such wise as Gorm of Denmark or Eric of 
Upsala have done." 

Great words indeed seemed this answer to the 

94 The Saga Library. IV 

messengers, and they ask her concerning her words, 
what wise this answer shall come to, and they say 
that Harald was a king so mighty, that the offer 
was right meet for her. But yet though she 
answered to their errand otherwise than they 
would, they see no way as at this time to have her 
away but if she herself were willing thereto, so 
they arrayed them for their departing, and when 
they were ready, men lead them out ; then spake 
Gyda to the messengers : 

"Give this my word to King Harald. that only 
so will I say yea to being his sole and lawful wife, 
if he will first do so much for my sake as to lay 
under him all Norway, and rule that realm as freely 
as King Eric rules the Swede-realm, or King Gorm 
Denmark ; for only so meseems may he be called 
aright a King of the People." 


THE messengers fare back to King Harald 
and tell him of this word of the maiden, 
calling her overbold and witless, and say- 
ing withal that it would be but meet for the king 
to send after her with many men, for the doing of 
some shame to her. Then answered the king that 
the maid had spoken nought of ill, and done 
nought worthy of evil reward. Rather he bade 
her much thank for her word ; " Eor she has 
brought to my mind that matter which it now 
seems to me wondrous 1 have not had in my mind 


V The story of II amid I la irf air. 95 

And moreover he said : " This oath I make fast, 
and swear before that god who made me and rules 
over all things, that never more will I cut my hair 
nor comb it, till I have gotten to me all Norway, 
with the scat thereof and the dues, and all rule 
thereover, or else will I die rather." 

For this word Duke Guthorm thanked him 
much, and said it were a work worthy of a king 
to hold fast this word of his. 


AFTER this the kinsmen gather much folk 
and array them to go into the Uplands, 
and so north through the Dales, and thence 
north over the Dofrafell ; and when they came 
down into the peopled country, they let slay all 
men and burned the country. So when the folk 
were ware of this all who might fled away ; some 
down to Orkdale, some to Gauldale, some into 
the woodland ; and yet othersome sought for 
peace, and all got that who came to the king and 
became his men. Nought they found to with- 
stand them before they came to Orkdale, and there 
was a gathering against them, and there they had 
their first fight with a king called Gryting. King 
Harald had the victory, and Gryting was taken, 
and much of his folk slain ; but he gave himself 
up to King Harald, and swore oaths of fealty to 
him : thereafter all the Orkdale folk submitted 
them to King Harald and became his men. 

96 The Saga Library. VI-VII 


SUCH law King Harald laid on all land 
that he won to him, that he made all free 
lands his own, and he caused the bonders 
pay land dues to him, both the rich and the un- 
rich. He set up an earl in each county, who should 
maintain law and right in the land, and gather all 
fines and land dues ; and each earl was to have a 
third of the scat and the dues for his board and 
costs. Each earl was to have under him four 
hersirs or more, and each of these was to have 
twenty marks for his maintenance. Each earl was 
to bring sixty men-at-arms to the king's host at 
his own costs, and each hersir twenty ; but by so 
much had King Harald increased the taxes and 
land dues, that his earls had more wealth and 
might than the kings had had aforetime. So when 
this was heard of about Thrandheim, then many 
rich men came to King Harald and became his 


IT is told that Earl Hakon Griotgard's son 
came to King Harald from the west from Yriar 
with a great company for the helping of King 
Harald ; and after that went King Harald to 
Gauldale, and had a battle there, and slew two 
kings, and gat their realms to him, that is to say, 
the Gauldale-folk and the Strind-folk. Then he 

VIII TJie Story of Ha raid Hair/air. 97 

gave to Earl Hakon the lordship over the Strind- 
folk. Thereafter King Harald went into Stior- 
dale and had there a third battle, and won the 
victory, and gat that folk to him. After these 
things the upcountry Thrandfolk gathered to- 
gether, and four kings with their hosts were 
assembled ; whereof one ruled over Verdale, the 
second over Skaun, the third the folk of the 
Sparbiders, and the fourth from Inner-isle who 
ruled the Isles'-folk: these four kings went with 
their host against King Harald, and he fell to 
battle with them and gained the day, and of these 
kings, some fell, and some fled. King Harald had 
eight battles in all, yea, or more, in Thrandheim, 
and when eight kings had been slain, he gat to him 
all Thrandheim. 


NORTH in Naumdale were two brethren 
kings, Herlaug and Hrollaug, and they 
had been three summers at the making 
of a howe, and that howe was built of stone and 
lime, and roofed with timber ; and so when it was 
all done, those brethren heard the tidings that 
King Harald with his host was coming upon them. 
Then let King Herlaug gather to the howe much 
victual and drink, and thereafter went into the 
howe with eleven men, and then let cover up the 
howe again. 

But King Hrollaug went on the top of the howe 
whereon the kings were wont to sit, and let array 

98 The Saga Library. IX 

the kingly high-seat, and sat down therein ; then 
he let lay pillows on the footpace whereon the 
earls were wont to sit, and tumbled himself down 
from the high-seat on to the earl's seat, and gave 
himself the name of earl. 

After that fared Hrollaug to meet King Harald, 
and gave him up all his realm, and prayed to be- 
come his man, and told in what wise he had done 
in all things ; then King Harald took a sword and 
did it on to his girdle, then hung a shield about the 
neck of him, and made him his earl, and led him 
to the high-seat ; then he gave him the Naumdale 
folk, and made him earl over them. 


THEREWITH King Harald fared back 
to Thrandheim, and abode there the winter 
through, and called it his home ever after, 
and there he set up his chiefest stead, which was 
called Ladir. 

That winter he wedded Asa, the daughter of 
Earl Hakon Griotgard's son, and Hakon had 
beyond all men the greatest honour of the king. 
In the spring Harald gat a-shipboard, for he had 
let make in the winter a dragon-galley, great, and 
arrayed in the seemliest wise. The said dragon he 
manned with his court-guard and bareserks ; the 
stem-men were the men most tried, because 
they had with them the king's banner ; aft from 
the stem to the baling-place was the forecastle, 
and that was manned by the bareserks. Those 

X The story of Harald Haiyfair. 99 

only could get court-service with King Harald 
who were men peerless both of strength and good 
heart, and all prowess ; with such only was his ship 
manned, whereas by now he had good choice of 
men to pick out for his bodyguard from every folk. 
He had a great company of folk, and big ships, and 
many mighty men followed him. Hereof tells 
Hornklofi in Glymdrapa how that King Harald had 
fought in the Updale Woods with the Orkdalers 
or ever he led out his folk on this voyage : 

The king for ever wrathful 
With them that crave the singing 
Of the fight-fish on its home-road, 
Had battle high on the heathland. 
Ere the high-heart war-din's raiser 
With sea-skates fell a-faring 
To the battle of the horses 
In wind-swept hall that welter. 

The host of the war-din's heeder, 
Who showeth hell to robbers, 
Set battlc-din a-roaring 
Over the wolf-pack's highway, 
Ere that manscathe that meeteth 
The home-way unto the sea-log 
Drave the proud-gliding dragon 
And sundry ships out seaward. 


KING HARALD led out his folk from 
Thrandheim, and turned south toward 
Mere ; but Hunthiof was the king's 
name who ruled over the Mere-folk, and Solfi 
Klofi was his son's name, and mighty men of war 
they were. But the king who ruled Raumsdale was 

lOO The Saga Library. X 

called Nockvi, and he was the father of Solfi's 
mother. These kings drew together a great host 
when they heard tidings of King Harald, and 
went against him, and they met at Solskel. There 
then was battle, and King Harald gained the day. 
Thereof singeth Hornklofi : 

Storm drave from the north the board-steed ; 

So that the wargear's wielder 

Was borne aboard amidward 

The battle of two war-kings. 

There then the kings all valiant 

Wordless each other greeted 

With din-shots midst the murder ; 

The red shields' voice long lasted. 

Both the kings fell, but Solfi fled away ; and 
both these folks did Harald lay under him, and 
dwelt there long that summertide. There he set 
up law and right for men, and established rulers 
over them, and took the fealty of folk ; but, autumn- 
tide come, he arrayed him to fare northaway unto 
Thrandheim. Rognvald the Mere Earl, son of 
Eystein Glumra, had become King Harald's man 
that summer, and him King Harald made lord 
over the two folks, Northmere and Raumsdale, 
and strengthened his hands thereto both with lords 
and franklins ; and ships he gave him withal that 
he might ward the land against war : he was called 
Rognvald the Mighty, or the Keen-counselled, 
and as folk say it was good sooth of either name. 
So King Harald abode the next winter in 

XI The story of Har aid Hairf air. loi 


NOW the spring thereafter King Harald 
gathered a mighty host out of Thrand- 
heim, and said that he was minded to lead 
it to Southmere. Solfi Klofi had abided in war- 
ships out at sea the winter long, and he had harried 
in Northmere ; many men of King Harald's he 
slew there ; othersonie he robbed, othersome he 
burned out of house and home, and wrought there 
all deeds of war. Nathless in the winter he had 
whiles been with King Arnvid, his kinsman, in 

So when these get news of King Harald, they 
gathered together their folk, and were no few ; 
whereas many deemed that they owed hatred 
to King Harald. Now fared Solfi Klofi south 
into the Firths unto King Audbiorn, who ruled 
thereover, and bade his help, to fare with his host 
for the strengthening of him and Arnvid, and in 
this wise he spake : 

" Easy it is for us all to see how that we have 
but one choice : either to rise up all against King 
Harald, and might enow we shall have then, and in 
the hands of Hap shall the victory be ; or otherwise 
there is this, a thing forsooth not to be chosen by 
folk named and holden no less nobly-born than this 
Harald, to wit, to become his thralls. My father 
deemed it a better choice to fall in battle, a very 
king, than to be the underling of King Harald." 

So thus prevailed the redes of Solfi that King 
Audbiorn gave his word to go, and gathered an 

I02 The Saga Library. XI 

host together, and went north to meet King 
Arnvid ; and a full mighty host they had. Now 
heard they tidings of King Harald, that he was 
newcome from the north, and they met inward 
of Solskel. 

Now in those days the wont was, when men 
fought a-shipboard, to bind the ships together and 
fight from the forecastle ; and even so was it now 
done. King Harald laid his ship against King 
Arnvid's ship, and keen enow was the battle, and 
much folk fell of either side ; but in the end 
waxed King Harald so wood-wroth that he went 
forth on to the forecastle of his ship, and there 
fought so fiercely that all the forward fighting-folk 
of Arnvid's ship gave back before him to the mast, 
and some there were that fell. Then did Kino- 
Harald follow after on to their ship, and Arnvid's 
men took to flight, but he himself fell on his own 
ship. There also fell King Audbiorn, but Solfi fled 
away ; as singeth Hornklofi : 

Our lord stirred up the spear-storm 
Where the byrny's fowl rent armour 
Amidst the din of Skogul, 
And blood the red wound snorted. 
Where on the Work the warriors 
Sank life-bereft before him. 
Mad yelled on shields the weapon 
^Vhile dyer of edges triumphed. 

Of Harald's folk fell Asgaut and Asbiorn, the 
king's earls, Griotgard withal and Herlaug, his 
wife's brothers, the sons of Hakon, the Earl of 

A long while hereafter was Solfi a viking, and 

XII The story of Harahi Hairfair. 103 

oft wrought great scathe in the reahn of King 


THEREAFTER King Harald laid South- 
mere under him. But Vemund, brother 
of King Audbiorn, held the Firth-folk, 
and became king thereover ; and now was autumn 
far spent. So men gave counsel to King Harald 
that he should not fare south about the Stad of an 
autumn day. Then King Harald set Earl Rogn- 
vald over either Mere and Raumsdale, and a many 
folk had the earl about him as then ; and there- 
withal King Harald turned back north to Thrand- 

That same winter fared Earl Rognvald by the 
inner course through Eid, and then southward past 
the Firths : he espied the goings of King Vemund, 
and so came a-night-tide to a certain stead hight 
Naust-dale, whereat was King Vemund a-feasting. 
There took Earl Rognvald the house over their 
heads, and burned King Vemund therein with 
ninety men. Thereafter came Kari of Berdla to 
Earl Rognvald with a long-ship all manned, and 
they went both together north to Mere. Earl 
Rognvald took the ships which King Vemund 
had owned, and all the chattels that he gat there. 
Kari of Berdla went north to Thrandheim unto 
King Harald, and became his man ; he was a 
mighty bareserk. 

104 ^'^^'^ Saga Library. XIII 


THE springtide hereafter went King Harald 
south along the land with his host of ships, 
and subdued to him the Firth-folk ; then 
east along the land he sailed till he hove-to at Wick 
in the east. But he left behind Earl Hakon Griot- 
gard's son, and gave him rule in the Firths. But 
when the kino- was eone east, then sent Hakon 
word to Earl Atli the Slender, bidding him get 
him gone from Sogn and be earl in Gaular, as he 
had been aforetime ; for he said that King Harald 
had given him Sogn ; but Earl Atli sent word 
again that he would hold both Sogn and Gaular 
to boot until he should see King Harald. Hereof 
the earls strove till either gathered an host together, 
and they met at Fialir in Staffness-bay, and there 
fought a great fight. There fell Earl Hakon, and 
Atli was hurt deadly, whose men fared with him 
to Atlis-isles, where he died. So saith Eyvind 
the Skald-spoiler : 

There Hakon, stem 
Of Hogni's daughter. 
All a-fighting 
Was stripped of weapons. 
Mid edges'-din 
Frey's offspring there 
At Fjalir laid 
His life adown. 

Where fell the friends. 
The kin of the Stonegarth, 
Mid mighty din 

XIV The story of Harald Haiyfair. 105 

Of the friend of Lodur, 
There it was 

That the wave of Staffness 
With blood of men 
Was all to-blended. 


KING HARALD led his host east into 
Wick, and laid his ships up for Tunsberg, 
which was a cheaping-stead in those 
days ; he had then dwelt four years in Thrandheim, 
nor had been for that while in the Wick. Now he 
heard tidings that Eric, son of Eymund, King of 
the Swedes, had laid under him Vermland and 
took scat there of all the woodland folk ; and 
how that he had called the land West Gautland 
north-away to Swinesound, and west-away to the 
sea : all that the Swede-king claimed as his own, 
and took scat of; and an earl he had set there 
called Rani the Gautlander, who ruled all between 
Swinesound and Gaut-elf, and was a mighty earl. 
Now King Harald was told that the word of the 
Swede-king was that he would leave not till he 
had as much rule in the Wick as Sigurd Ring had 
aforetime, or Ragnar Lodbrok his son, Raum- 
realm to wit, and Westfold right out to Grenmar, 
Vingulmark also, and thenceaway south ; and 
many great chiefs and other folk all about these 
folk-lands had already turned to the rule of the 
Swede-king. King Harald was full ill content 
herewith, and forthwith gathered together a mote 

io6 The Saga Library. XV 

of the bonders there at Fold, and bore witness 
against them of treason. Some put the charge 
from them ; some paid money therefor, and some 
were punished ; and in such wise he dealt with all 
that folk-land that summer ; and in autumn he 
went up into Raum-realm, and dealt in like wise, 
laying all the country under him. But in the begin- 
ning of winter he heard how Eric the Swede-king 
rode abroad guesting with his court in Vermland. 


KING HARALD got ready and went his 
ways east over the Eid-wood, and so 
came out into Vermland, and let array 
feasts before him. Now there was a man named 
Aki, the mightiest bonder of Vermland, exceeding 
wealthy, but now much stricken in years ; he sent 
men to King Harald, and bade him to a feast, and 
the king gave his word to go at the day appointed. 
King Eric also did Aki bid to feast on the self-same 
day. Aki had a great guest-hall, now waxen old; so 
he let build another one anew, nowise lesser, and 
arrayed it in the best wise. The new hall he let 
hang with gear all new, but the old one with old 
gear ; and when the kings came to the feast. King 
Eric and his court were marshalled in the old hall, 
but King Harald in the new hall with his men ; 
and such wise was the fashion of the table-gear, 
that Eric and his men had old beakers and horns, 
gilt though they were, and full fairly fashioned ; 
but King Harald and his men had new beakers 

XV The story of Harald Hairf air. 107 

and horns, all done about with gold, fair-graven 
withal, and shining as clear as glass ; but in either 
hall was the drink of the best that might be. But 
goodman Aki had aforetime been liegeman of 
Halfdan the Black. 

Now when the day came that the feast was 
ended, the kings arrayed them for departure, and 
the horses were saddled. Then went Aki before 
King Harald, having with him his son of twelve 
winters old, Ubbi by name, and spake : "If thou 
deemest me, lord, worthy of thy friendship for the 
goodwill's sake I have shown to thee in this thy 
guesting, reward my son therefor ; and I give 
him to thee for thy servant." 

Then the king thanked him for his welcome 
with many fair words, and promised him his full 
friendship in return thereof Then brought forth 
Aki great gifts, which he gave to the king ; and 
therewithal they kissed, Aki and the king. 

Thereafter went Aki to the Swede king, and 
there was King Eric clad and ready for the road, 
but was somewhat moody withal. So Aki took 
good gifts, which he gave to the king ; but the 
king answered little, and leapt a-horseback, and 
Aki went on the way with the king, and talked 
with him. A wood lay anigh to the house, and the 
road went therethrough; and when Aki came to 
the wood the king asked him : " Why didst thou 
deal so diversely between me and Harald in our 
guesting, so that he had the better part in all 
things, whereas thou wottest that thou art my 
man?" Says Aki: "I was deeming, lord, that 
neither thou nor thy men lacked aught of welcome 

io8 The Saga Library. XVI 

at this feast ; but whereas the gear where ye drank 
was old, it was because thou art now old, and Harald 
is in the very flower of his life-days ; therefore gat 
I the new gear for him. And whereas thou wouldst 
bring to my mind that I am thy man, I wot not but 
that thou art just so much mine." Then the king 
drew his sword and smote him to death, and went 
his ways. 

But when King Harald was ready to leap a- 
horseback, he bade call Master Aki to him. So 
when men ran to seek him, some came on the road 
whereby King Eric had ridden, and found Aki 
lying dead there. So they went back and told 
King Harald. But when he heard it he called on 
his men to avenge Master Aki, and so he and his 
rode by the way King Eric had ridden afore, till 
either side were ware of other. Then both rode all 
they might till they came to the wood that parteth 
Gautland from Vermland. Then King Harald 
turned back into Vermland, and laid it all under 
him, and slew King Eric's men wheresoever he 
might come on them. 

And so King Harald went back in the winter 
to Raum-realm, and abode there a while. 


KING HARALD went in the winter-tide 
out to Tunsberg, and to his ships there ; 
and he dight his ships and crossed the 
Firth eastward and laid all Vingulmark under him; 
and all the winter long he lay out in his war-ships. 

XVII The story of Harald Hairfair. 109 

and harried in Ran-realm ; as saith Thorbiorn 

Hornklofi : 

Our lord the high-hearted 
If his own will rule only 
Out a-doors drinketh Yule, 
All Frey's game a-faring. 
E'en young was he loathing 
The fire-bake, the hall-nook ; 
Loathed the bowers of women, 
And warm downy mittens. 

Now the Gautlanders had been drawing together 
throughout all the country-side. 


BUT in the spring, when the ice was gone, 
the Gautlanders staked the Gaut-elf that 
King Harald might not bring his ships up 
into the land. But King Harald brought his 
ships up the Elf and laid them by the stakes, and 
harried on either shore, and burned the steads ; as 
singeth Hornklofi : . 

The feeder of the fight-mew 
Hath land and men laid under, 
All southward of the deep sea, 
The king in battle hardy ! 
The great king the high-hearted, 
Wont to the Helm of Aweing, 
Let bind the linden's wild-deer 
Unto the stakes off shore there. 

Then rode the Gautlanders down with a mighty 
host, and joined battle with King Harald, and 
great was the fall of men ; but such end there was 

no The Saga Library. XVIII 

thereof that King Harald prevailed ; as singeth 
Hornklofi : 

Throve roar of upreared axes, 
The spears fell on a-howling, 
Bit men the swords black-gleaming 
Of the followers of the mighty. 
Where the Gautfolk's foe prevailed, 
High then aro>e the singing 
Of the spears to flight commanded 
About the necks of warriors. 


KING HARALD fared a- warring wide 
about Gautland, and had many battles 
on either side the Elf, and oftenest gained 
the day ; till in a certain fight fell Rani the Gaut- 
lander. Then King Harald subdued to him all 
the land north of the Elf and west of the Venner- 
Water, and all Vermland to wit ; and when he 
turned away thence he set Duke Guthorm over the 
land with a great company ; but he himself turned 
toward the Uplands, and dwelt there awhile. Then 
he fared north over the Dofra-fell to Thrandheim, 
and abode there a long while. 

And now began children to be born to King 
Harald. By Asa he had these sons : Guthorm was 
the eldest; then Halfdan the Black and Halfdan 
the White, twins ; and Sigfrod the fourth : all 
these were nourished in Thrandheim in great 

XIX The Story of Harald Hairfair. 1 1 1 


NOW came tidings from the south that the 
men of Hordaland and Rogaland, they of 
Agdir and Thelmark, had arisen and 
gathered together with great plenty of weapons 
and ships and many men ; and their captains were 
Eric, king of Hordaland, Sulki, king of Rogaland, 
and Earl Soti his brother, Kiotvi the Wealthy, 
king of Agdir, and Thorir Long-chin ; from 
Thelmark came two brethren, Roald and Rig, 
and Hadd the Hardy to wit. 

But when King Harald heard these tidings he 
gathered an host, and put forth his ships into the 
sea. Then he arrayed a great host, and fared south 
along the land, and gat many men from every 
folk-land. But when he was come south about 
the Stad, King Eric heard thereof; and he had 
by then gotten together all the folk he looked to 
have. So he fared south to meet the host that he 
wotted would come from the east to his helping ; 
and the whole host of them met north of Jadar 
and made for Hafursfirth, where lay King Harald 
with his host awaiting them. There a great fight 
befell, and both long and hard it was ; but such 
was the end thereof that King Harald had the 
victory, and King Eric fell there, and King Sulki, 
and Earl Soti his brother. Thorir Long-chin had 
laid his ship against King Harald's; and a great 
bareserk was Thorir. Hard was the brunt before 
Thorir fell, when his ship was cleared utterly. Then 
fled away King Kiotvi to a certain holm where 

112 The Saga Library. XIX 

was good vantage for fighting. Then all their 
host fled away, some by ship, and some ran up 
country, and so inland south about Jadar. So 
singeth Hornklofi : 

Heardst thou in Hafursfirth 
How there fell the battle 
Twixt the king of high kindred 
And Kiotvi the Wealthy ? 
From east-away came the ships 
All eager for battle, 
With grim gaping heads 
And prow-plates fair-graven. 

Of wight-men was their lading 
And shields white-shining; 
Spears of the Westlands 
And Welsh-wrought swords. 
Roared there the bareserks, 
Battle-wood was the host. 
Loud howled the Wolf-coats 
And clattered the iron. 

The strong master tried they, 
Bold lord of the Eastmen, 
The bider at Outstone, 
But fleeing he taught them. 
Beached ships he ran out 
When of battle he wotted ; 
Fast shields were a-clashing 
Ere Long-chin fell dead. 
The brawny-necked king 
Waxed a-weary of warding 
His land from the Shock-head, 
And let the holm shield him. 
Down neath the decks then 
Dived the lads wounded. 
Their buttocks uphoven, 
Their heads by the keel laid. 

Bold men stone-battered. 
Blenched from the battle, 

XX The Story of Harald Ilairfair. 1 13 

Hung Odin's hall-tiles 
Behind them to glitter. 
Home then from Hafursfirth 
Hied they by Jadar ; 
Trembled the gold-staves, 
And set heart on the mead-horn. 


AFTER this battle King Harald found 
nought to withstand him in all Norway ; 
for all his greatest foemen were fallen. 
But certain fled away from the land, and a many 
folk were these ; for then were the waste lands 
peopled far and wide. Jamptland and Helsing- 
land were peopled, though either of them in- 
deed had been somewhat peopled by Northmen 

Amid this unpeace, whenas King Harald was 
fighting for the land in Norway, were the Outlands 
found and peopled, the Faroes and Iceland to 
wit ; also was there much faring of Northmen to 
Shetland. And many mighty men of Norway 
fled as outlaws before King Harald, and fell to 
the warring of the West : in the winter they 
abode in the South-isles or the Orkneys, but a- 
summer harried in Norway, and wrought great 
scathe on the land. 

Nevertheless there were many mighty men who 
did fealty to King Harald and became his men, 
and abode in the land along with him. 


1 14 The Saga Library. XXI 


AND now when King Harald was gotten to 
be only Lord of Norway, he called to 
mind the word that the great-hearted 
maiden had spoken to him, and sent men after her, 
and had her to him, and bedded her. These were 
their children : Alof the eldest, then Roerek, then 
Sigtrygg, then Frodi and Thorgils. 

King Harald had many wives and many chil- 
dren. He wedded her who is called Ragnhild, 
daughter of Eric, king of Jutland. Ragnhild the 
Mighty was she called, and their son was Eric 
Blood-axe. Moreover, he had to wife Swanhild, 
daughter of King Eystein, and these were their 
sons : Olaf Geirstead-elf, Biorn, and Ragnar 
Ryckil ; and again had King Harald to wife Ashild, 
daughter of Ring Dayson down from Ring-realm, 
and their children were Day and Ring, Gudrod 
Skiria, and Ingigerd. 

So folk say that when King Harald wedded 
Ragnhild the Mighty he put away from him nine 
of his wives. Hereof singeth Hornklofi : 

The king of high kindred 
When his Dane-wife he wedded, 
Put from him the Holmfolk, 
And Hordaland maidens. 
Each woman of Heathmark, 
All kindred of Holgi. 

King Harald's children were nourished ever 
whereas their mothers' kin dwelt. Duke Guthorm 

XXII The Story of Ha raid Hair/air. 1 1 5 

sprinkled the eldest son of King Harald with water, 
and gave him his own name. He set the lad on his 
knee, and became his fosterer, and had him away 
with him east into the Wick. There he was 
nourished with Duke Guthorm. Duke Guthorm 
had all rule of the land about the Wick and th(; 
Uplands when King Harald was not nigh. 



OW heard King Harald how the vikings 
harried wide about the midmost of the 
land, even such as were a-wintertide West- 
over-sea. So he had out his host every summer, 
and searched isles and out-skerries ; and whenso 
the vikings were ware of his host they fled away ; 
yea, the more part right out to sea. But when the 
king grew a-weary of this work, this betid, that on 
a summer he sailed with his host West-over-sea, 
and came first to Shetland, and there slew all the 
vikings who might not flee before him. Then he 
sailed south to the Orkneys, and cleared them utterly 
of vikings. And thereafter he fared right away to 
the South-isles, and harried there, and slew many 
vikings who were captains of bands there. There 
had he many battles, and ever gained the day. 
Then he harried in Scotland, and had battles there. 
And when he came west to Man, the folk thereof 
had heard already what warfare King Harald had 
done in the land aforetime, and all folk fled into Scot- 
land, so that Man was all waste of men, and all the 
goods that might be were flitted away. So when 

ii6 The Saga Library. XXII 

King Harald and his folk went a-land the)' gat no 
prey there. So sayeth Hornklofi : 

Bore the much-wise gold- loader 
To the townships shields a-many — 
The grove of Nith-wolves' land-lace, 
In the land prevailed in battle — 
Ere needs must flee the Scot-host 
Before the fight-proud waster 
Of the path of the fish that playeth 
Around the war-sword's isthmus. 

In these battles fell Ivar, son of Rognvald the 
Mere-Earl. But to boot the loss of him King 
Harald, when he sailed from the West, gave Earl 
Rognvald the Orkneys and Shetland. But Rogn- 
vald straightway gave both the lands to Sigurd 
his brother, who abode behind in the West. And 
the king or ever he fared back east gave 
the earldom to Sigurd. Then there joined him 
to Sigurd, Thorstein the Red, son of Olaf the 
White and Aud the Deeply-wealthy, and they 
harried in Scotland, and won to them Caithness 
and Sutherland all down to the Oikel-Bank. Now 
Earl Sigurd slew Tusk-Melbrigda, a Scottish 
earl, and bound his head to his crupper; but he 
smote the thick of his leg against the tooth as it 
stuck out from the head, and the hurt festered 
so that he gat his bane therefrom, and he was 
laid in howe in Oikel-Bank. Then Guthorm 
his son ruled the lands for one winter, and then 
died childless, and thereafter many vikings, Danes 
and Northmen, sat them down in his lands. 

XXIII-IV story of Harald Hairfaif. 117 


NOW King Harald was a-feasting in Mere 
at Earl Rognvald's, and had now gotten 
to him all the land. So King Harald 
took a bath, and then he let his hair be combed, 
and then Earl Rognvald sheared it. And hereto- 
fore it had been unshorn and uncombed for ten 
winters. Aforetime he had been called Shock- 
head, but now Earl Rognvald gave him a by-name, 
and called him HARALD HAIRFAIR, and all 
said who saw him that that was most soothly named, 
for he had both plenteous hair and goodly. 


ROGNVALD the Mere-Earl was a friend 
most well beloved of King Harald, and 
the king held him in great honour. Earl 
Rognvald wedded Hild, daughter of Rolf Nefia, 
and their sons were Rolf and Thorir. Earl 
Rognvald had also three children from his bed- 
mates, to wit, Hallad the first, Einar the 
second, Hrollaug the third ; and these were 
already come to man's estate v.'hen their lawfully 
gotten brethren were but children. 

Rolf was a great viking, and a man so great of 
growth that no horse might bear him, wherefore 
he went afoot wheresoever he fared, and was 
called Rolf Wend-afoot. He would be ever a- 
harrying in the Eastlands ; and on a summer 

1 18 The Saga Libra}'}'. XXIV 

when he came to the Wick from his Eastland 
warring he had a strand-slaughtering there. King 
Harald was in the Wick at that time, and was 
very wroth when he heard hereof, for he had laid 
a great ban upon robbing in the land. Wherefore 
at a Thing he gave out that he made Rolf outlaw 
from all Norway. But when Hild, the mother 
of Rolf, heard thereof, she went to the king and 
prayed him for peace for Rolf; but the king was 
so wroth that her prayers availed nought. Then 
sany Hild : 


Thou hast cast off Nefia's namesake ; 

Brave brother of the barons, 

As a wolf from the land thou drivcst. 

Why waxeth, lord, thy raging ? 

Ill to be wild in quarrel 

AVith a wolf of Odin's war-board. 

If he fare wild in the forest 

He shall waste thy flock right sorely. 

Rolf Wend-afoot fared thereafter west-over-sea 
to the .South-isles. Thence west he went to 
Valland, and harried there, and won therein a 
mighty earldom, and peopled all the land with 
Northmen, and thenceforward has that land been 
called Normandy. 

The son of Rolf Wend-afoot was William, the 
father of Richard, the father of Richard the second, 
the father of Robert Long-sword, the father of 
William the Bastard, king of the English ; and 
from him are come all the English kings thence- 
forward. From Rolf's kin also are come earls in 

Queen Ragnhild the Mighty lived three winters 

XXV The Story of Harald Hairfair. 1 19 

after she came to Norway. After her death Eric, 
the son of her and Harald, went to the Firths to 
be fostered of Hersir Thorir, the son of Roald, 
and there was he nourished. 


ON a winter went King Harald a-guesting 
in die Uplands, and let array his Yule- 
feast at the Tofts. Yule-eve it is when 
Cometh Swasi to the door, whenas the king is set 
down to table. He sendeth bidding to the king 
to come out to him, but the king waxed wroth 
at the bidding ; and the same man bore the king's 
wrath out that bore the bidding in. No less bade 
Swasi bear in again his errand, saying that he 
was that Finn unto whom the king had said yea 
to set up his cot on the other side the brent. So 
went the king out, and needs must say yea to 
faring home with him, and went across the brent into 
his cot ; with the egging of some men of his, though 
some letted him. There rose to meet him Snowfair, 
daughter of Swasi, fairest of women, and gave to 
the king a cup full of honey-mead. Then took he 
together the cup and the hand of her, and straight- 
way it was as if hot fire came into his skin, and 
therewith would he be by her that very night ; but 
Swasi says it may not be, but if need sway him, 
but if the kino- betroth him to her, and take her 
lawfully. So King Harald betrothed him to 
Snowfair, and wedded her ; and with such longing 
he loved her, that he forgat his kingdom, and all 

I20 The Saga Library. XXV 

that belonged to his kingly honour. Four sons 
they had: Sigurd a-Bush, Halfdan High-leg, 
Gudrod Gleam, and Rognvald Straight-leg. 

Then died Snowfair, but nowise changed her 
hue, and as red and white she was as when 
she was alive ; and the king sat ever by her and 
thought in his heart that she lived yet. So wore 
away three winters, while the king sorrowed for 
her dying, and all the folk of the land sorrowed 
for his beguilement. But now to the leech-craft 
of laying this wildness came Thorleif the Sage, 
and with wisdom vanquished it, first with soft 
words, saying thus : 

" No marvel, O king, although thou mindest so 
fair a woman and so mighty, and honourest her 
with the down-pillow and the goodly web, even as 
she would have of thee ; yet is thine honour less 
than what behoveth both thee and her, whereas 
overlong in one raiment she lieth ; more meet it 
were that somewhat thou move her, and shift the 
cloths beneath her." 

But, lo ! so soon as she was turned out of the 
bed sprang up ill savour, rose up rottenness, and 
all manner of stink from the dead corpse. Speedy 
were they with the bale-fire, and therein was she 
burned ; but first her body waxed all blue, and 
thence crawled worms and adders, frogs and pad- 
docks, and all the kind of creeping things. So 
sank she into ashes ; but the king strode forth 
into wisdom, and cast his folly from his heart, and 
stoutly ruled his realm, and strengthened him 
of his thanes and waxed glad of them, and his 
thanes of him, and all the land of them both. 

XXVI The story of Harald Haiyfaiv. 121 


AFTER King Harald had proven the be- 
guiling of the Finn-wife, he was so wroth 
that he drave from him the sons of him 
and the Finn-wife, and would not look on them. 
But Gudrod Gleam went to Thiodolf the Hvin- 
dweller, his foster-father, and bade him go with 
him to the king, because Thiodolf was a well- 
loved friend of King Harald; but the king was as 
then in the Uplands. So they went whenas they 
were arrayed, and came to the king late of an even- 
ing-tide, and took an outer place, and kept hidden. 
Now the king went up the hall-floor, and looked on 
the benches ; but some feast or other was toward, 
and the mead was mixed. So he sang muttering : 

My warriors of old seasons 
For the mead are much o'er-eager ; 
Yea, here are come the hoary. 
What make ye here so many ? 

Then answered Thiodolf: 

Our heads bore oft in old time 
Hard strokes from out the edge-play, 
Along with the wise gold-waster; 
And were we thai o'er-many? 

Therewith Thiodolf took the hat from his head, 
and then the king knew him and gave him fair 
welcome. Then Thiodolf prayed the king not to 
set aside his sons : " For fain had they been of a 
better-born mother hadst thou gotten them one." 

122 TJie Saga Library. XXVII 

So the king said yea thereto, and bade him have 
Gudrod home with him even as he had had afore- 
time ; but Sigurd and Halfdan he bade fare to Ring- 
realm, and Rognvald he bade fare to Hadaland ; 
and they did as the king bade. They became full 
manly men, and well endowed with prowess. So 
sat King: Harald at home in his own land, amid 
good peace and plenteous seasons. 


ROGNVALD, the Earl of Mere, heard 
of the fall of Sigurd his brother, and 
how the vikings abode in his lands. So 
he sent his son Hallad west-away, who took the 
name of earl on him, and had a great company of 
men ; and when he came to the Orkneys he sat 
him down in the land. But both autumn, winter, 
and spring fared the vikings about the isles, and 
lifted on the nesses, and slaughtered beasts on the 
strand. So Earl Hallad grew a-weary of sitting 
in the isles and cast aside his earldom, and took a 
franklin's dignity, and so fared east to Norway ; 
and when Earl Rognvald heard thereof, he was ill 
content with Hallad's journey, and said that his 
sons would become all unlike their forefathers. 
Then spake Einar : " I have had little honour of 
thee, and but little love have I to part from. I 
will fare west to the isles if thou wilt give me some 
help or other ; and then I will promise thee, what 
will oladden thee exceedintilv, never to come back 
again to Norway." 

XXVIII story of Harald Haiyf air. 123 

Earl Rognvald said he should be well content 
if he never came back : " For small hope have I 
that thy kin will have honour of thee, whereas all 
thy mother's kin is thrall-born." So Earl Rogn- 
vald gave Einar a long-ship all manned, and in 
the autumn-tide Einar sailed West-over-sea ; but 
when he came to the Orkneys there lay before 
him two ships of the vikings Thorir Wood-beard 
and Kalf Scurvy. Einar fell to battle with them 
straightway, and won the victory, and they both 
fell. Then was this sung : 

Tree-beard to the trolls he gave there, 
Scurvy there Turf-Einar slaughtered. 

For this cause was he called Turf-Einar, be- 
cause he let cut turf and use it instead of fire- 
wood, whereas there were no woods in the 

Thereafter Einar became earl over the isles, 
and was a mighty man there. He was an ugly 
man, and one-eyed, howbeit the sharpest-sighted 
of men. 


DUKE GUTHORM abode for the most 
part in Tunsberg, and bore sway all over 
the Wick whenas the king was not there- 
by; and he was charged with the warding of the land 
withal. In those days was there great trouble of 
the vikings, and there was war also up in Gautland 
while King Eric Eymundson lived. But he died 

124 The Saga Library. XXIX-XXX 

whenas King Harald Hairfair had been king of 
Norway for ten winters. 


AFTER Eric, Biorn his son was king in 
Sweden for fifty years. He was father 
of Eric the Victorious, and Olaf, the 
father of Styrbiorn. 

Duke Guthorm died in his bed in Tunsberg, and 
King Harald gave the sway over all that land to 
Guthorm his son, and he set him up for lord 


WHEN King Harald was forty years 
old, many of his sons were well waxen 
up, and men early ripened were they 
all. And so it befell that they were ill content 
that the king gave them no rule, but set an earl 
in every county, which earls they deemed less 
nobly-born than themselves. 

So one spring, Halfdan High-leg and Gudrod 
Gleam went their ways with a great company 
of men, and came unwares on Rognvald the 
Mere-Earl, and took the house over him, and 
burned him therein with sixty men. Then took 
Halfdan three long-ships, and sailed West-over- 
sea ; but Gudrod set him down in the lands 
that Rognvald had aforetime owned. But when 

XXXI The story of Harald Ilairfair. 125 

King Harald heard hereof he went with a great 
host against Gudrod, and Gudrod saw that there 
was nought for it but to give himself up into the 
power of King Harald. So the king sent him 
east-away to Agdir. But King Harald made 
lord over Mere, Thorir, the son of Earl Rognvald, 
and gave him Alof his daughter, who was called 
the Years-heal. So Earl Thorir the Silent had the 
same rule that his father Rognvald had before him. 


HALFDAN HIGH-LEG came west to 
the Orkneys all unwares, and Earl 
Einar fled straightway from the isles 
over into Caithness ; but he came back again in 
the autumn and fell unwares on Halfdan. They 
met, and short wa'S the battle ere Halfdan fled 
against the very fall of night ; and Einar and his 
folk lay tentless through the night. But in the 
morning at daybreak they fell a-searching the 
fleers about the islands, and every man was slain 
where he was taken. Then spake Earl Einar : 
" I wot not," says he, " what it is I see out on 
Rinan's-isle, whether it be a man or a fowl ; whiles 
it cometh up, and whiles it lieth down." So thither 
went they, and found Halfdan High-leg there, and 
laid hands on him. Now Earl Einar had sung 
this song the eve before, or ever he joined battle : 

From the hand of Rolf my brother, 
From Hrollaug's hand nought see I 
The spears fly gainst the foemen. 

126 TJic Saga Library. XXXI 

And our father cries for vengeance. 
Yea, and on this same evening, 
While we thrust on the battle, ■ 
In Mere by the beakers' river 
Earl Thorir sitteth silent. 

So now went Earl EInar to Halfdan, and cut 
an erne on the back of him in such wise, that he 
thrust his sword into the hollow of the body by 
the backbone, and sheared apart all the ribs down 
to the loins, and thereby drew out the lungs ; and 
that was the bane of Halfdan. 

Then sang Einar : 

Wreaked have I Rognvald's slaying, 
I for my fourth part fully. 
For the stay of hosts is fallen ; 
The Norns have ruled it rightly. 
Heap stones then upon High-leg, 
High up, brave lads of battle. 
For we in strife were stronger, 
And a stony scat I pay him. 

Then took Earl Einar the Orkneys to him 
as he had before had them. But when these 
tidings were known in Norway, then were the 
brethren of Halfdan exceeding ill content thereat, 
and said that it must be avenged, and many others 
said that sooth it was. But when Earl Einar heard 
thereof, then sang he : 

A many nought unmighty 
There are in many countries, 
For many a due cause doubtless, 
Full fain my death to compass ; 
Yet ere to field they fell me, 
They know not who is fated 
Meanwhile to fall before me 
Neath foot-thorn of the eagle. 

XXXII The story of Haraldllairfaiy. 127 


KING HARALD called out his men and 
drew together a great host, and so went 
west to the Orkneys ; and when Earl 
Einar heard that King- Harald was come from the 
east, he grot him over to Caithness. 
Then he sanir this song : 

For the slaughtering of the sheep-kind 
Are some with beards made guilty ; 
But I for a king's son's slaying 
Amid the sea-beat island. 
Conies peril, say the franklins, 
From the wrath of a king redoubted, 
And surely of my shearing 
Is the shard in the shield of Harald. 

Then went men and messengers between the 
king and the earl ; and it was so brought about 
that a meeting was bespoken, and they themselves 
met, and the earl handselled all to the king's judg- 
ment. So King Harald doomed Earl Einar and 
all the folk of Orkney to pay him si.xty marks of 
eold. Over-great the bonders deemed the fine ; 
so the earl offered to pay it all himself, and that 
he should have in return all the odal lands in the 
isles. Hereto they all assented, mostly for this 
cause, that the poor folk had but little land, but 
the rich thought to redeem their land when they 
would. So the earl paid all the fine to the king ; 
and the king went back east in the autumn-tide. 
So a long while thereafter in the Orkneys the 
earls owned all the odal lands ; yea, until the 

1 28 The Saga Library. X X X 1 1 1- 1 V 

time when Sigurd, son of Lewis, gave them up 


GUTHORM, the son of King Harald, had 
the warding of the land about the \Vicl<, 
and would fare with his war-ships out 
beyond the skerries ; and on a time whenas he 
lay in the mouth of the Elf, came Solfi Klofl and 
joined battle with him, and Guthorm fell there. 

Halfdan the Black and Halfdan the White 
lay out sea-roving, and harried in the Eastlands ; 
and on a time they had a great battle in Esthonia, 
and Halfdan the White fell there. 


ERIC, Harald's son, was fostered with 
the Hersir Thorir, Roald's son, in the 
Firth-land. Him King Harald loved 
and honoured the most of all his sons. When 
Eric was twelve winters old Harald gave him five 
long-ships, and he went a-warring ; first in the 
Eastlands, then south about Denmark and Fries- 
land and Saxland, in which warfare he abode for 
four Nv^inters ; thereafter he went W^est-over-sea, 
and harried in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Nor- 
mandy, and another four winters he wore away 
thus ; then he fared north-away to Finland, and 

The Story of Harald Hairfair. 1 29 

right up to Biarmland, and had a great battle 
there, and won the day. 

Now when he came back to Finmark his men 
found a certain woman in a cot there, the Hke of 
whom they had never seen for fairness ; she 
named her Gunnhild to them, and said that her 
father dwelt in Halogaland, and was called Ozur 
Tot. " For this cause have I abided here," 
said she, " that I might learn cunning from two 
Finns here, the wisest of all the wood. Now are 
they gone a-hunting ; but they both of them are 
fain of my love. So wise are they, that they may 
follow a track as hounds, both over thaw and 
hard ice ; and so cunning are they on snow-shoes 
that nought mayescape them.neitherman nor beast; 
and whatso they shoot at they hit without fail. Thus 
have they overcome every man that has come anigh 
here ; and if they be angry, the earth turneth inside 
outward before the eyes of them ; but if aught 
quick be before their eyes, straightway it fallcth 
down dead. Now may ye in no wise cross their 
way, but I will hide you here in the hut, and then 
ye shall try if we may compass their slaying." 

That took they with thanks, and so she hid 
them there. She took a linen sack, wherein them- 
seemed were ashes ; that took she in her hand, 
and strawed it about the hut both within and 

A little after the Finns come home, and ask her 
what is come thither, and she says that nought at 
all is come. Marvellous that seemeth to the Finns, 
who have followed the slot right up to the hut, 
but may find nought thereafter. 


130 The Saga Library. XXXIV 

So they make them fire, and cook some meat ; 
and when they had had their fill Gunnhild arrays 
their bed. But so matters had gone for three 
nights past, that Gunnhild had slept, but either of 
them had watched waking over the other for 
jealousy's sake ; but now she spake to the Finns : 
" Come hither, and lie one of vou on either side 
of me." 

Hereof were they full fain, and did so ; and she 
cast an arm about the neck of either, and they fell 
asleep straightway. But she woke them again ; 
yet speedily they fell asleep once more, and that 
so fast, that she might scarcely wake them ; once 
again they slept, and then she might nowise get 
them awake. So she .set them up withal, and 
still they slept on ; then she took two great seal- 
skin bags, and did them over their heads, and 
bound them strongly underneath their arms. Then 
she gave a sign to the king's men, and they leap 
forth and bear weapons against the Finns and 
destroy them, and drag them out of the hut ; and 
all that night was there fierce thundering, so mighty 
that they might not go their ways ; but in the 
morning they fared to the ship, and had Gunnhild 
with them, and brought her to Eric. So Eric and 
his folk fare south thence to Halogaland ; and 
there Eric summoned Ozur Tot to him, and says 
that he would wed his daughter. He said yea 
thereto, and Eric wedded Gunnhild, and had her 
with him into the South-country. 

XXXV The Stoiy of Harald Ilairfair. 131 



NOW was King Harald fifty years old, when 
some of his sons were fully grown, or dead, 
other some of them ; they were waxen 
now riotous men in the land, yea, and were not at 
one among themselves. They drave the king's 
earls away from their lands, or some they slew. So 
King Harald summoned a Thing of many men 
in the South-country, bidding thereto all the 
Upland-men. Thereat he gave his sons the 
name of king, and established by law that all his 
very kin should each take the kingship after his 
father, but all they who were come of him on the 
distaff side should be held for earls. 

He shared the land betwixt them ; Vingulmark, 
Raumrealm, Westfold, Thelmark, this he gave 
to Olaf, Biorn, Sigtrygg, Prodi, and Thorgils. 
Heathmark and Gudbrandsdale gave he to Day 
and Ring and Ragnar. To the sons of Snowfair 
gave he Ring-realm, Hadaland, Thotn, and all 
that appertains thereto. To Guthorm had he afore- 
time given all rule from the Elf to Swinesound, 
and Ran-realm to wit, and had set him up for the 
warding of the land to the easternmost end thereof. 

King Harald himself was most oft in the mid- 
most of the land. Roerek and Gudrod were 
ever in the court with the king, and held great 
bailiwicks about Hordland and Sogn. King 
Eric abode ever with King Harald ; to him gave 
he Halogaland and Northmere and Raumsdale. 
North-away in Thrandheim he gave the rule to 

132 The Saga Library. XXXV 

Halfdan the Black and Halfdan the White and 
Sio;rod. In each of these counties he grave to his 
sons half of the dues against himself, and there- 
withal seat in the high-seat a step higher than 
the earls and a step lower than he himself. That 
seat of his, in sooth, each of his sons was minded 
himself to have after his father's day ; but he him- 
self was minded that Eric should have it. And 
the Thrandheim folk would have Halfdan the 
Black to sit there ; and the folk of the Wick and 
the Upland-men would give the rule each unto 
the one who was nighest at hand to them ; and 
from all this waxed dissension anew betwixt the 
brethren. And whereas they deemed themselves 
to have but little dominion, they went a-warring, 
as is aforesaid, and how Guthorm fell in the 
mouth of the Elf before Solfi Klofi ; and after 
him Olaf took the dominion he had had. Halfdan 
the White also fell in Estland, and Halfdan High- 
leg in the Orkneys. 

To Thorgils and Frodi gave King Harald war- 
ships, and they went a-warring in the West, and 
harried about Scotland and Wales and Ireland ; 
and they were the first of the Northmen who gat 
to them Dublin. So say folk that to Frodi was 
deadly drink given ; but Thorgils was a long while 
king over Dublin, and was bewrayed of the Erse- 
folk and so died there. 

The Story of Harald Hairfair. 1 33 


ERIC BLOOD-AXE was minded to be 
king over all his brethren, and even so 
would King Harald have it ; and at most 
times were he and his father together. Now 
Rognvald Straight-leg had Hadaland, and he fell 
to wizardry and became a spell-worker ; but King 
Harald was a foe to wizards. In Hordland dwelt 
a wizard called Vitgeir ; to him sent the king word 
bidding him leave his wizard-craft, but he answered 
and sang this song : 

Little weighs it 

Though wizards we be, 

We carle-begotten 

On very carlines ; 

When Rognvald Straight-leg, 

Dear son of Harald, 

Raiseth the witch-lay 

In Hadaland. 

But when King Harald heard thereof, Eric 
Blood-axe fared at his bidding to the Uplands, 
and came to Hadaland ; and there he burned in 
his house Rognvald his brother and eighty wizards, 
and much was that work praised. 


GUDROD GLEAM abode in the winter 
with his foster-father Thiodolf of Hvin 
for old friendship's sake ; a cutter he had 
all-manned, and therein would he fare north to 

134 The Saga Library. XXXVIII 

Rogaland. Great storms were about that tide, but 
Gudrod was eager to go, and loth to abide. Then 
sang Thiodolf : 

Go not from hence, O Gudrod, 
Ere the ship's plain groweth better ; 
For Geitir's way is wafting 
The stones in wash of billows. 
Await here, O thou wide-famed. 
The turmoil and wind's wonder : 
Bide with us for fair weather ! 
Surf-washed is all round Jadar. 

But Gudrod went as he was minded, whatsoever 
Thiodolf might say ; but when they were come 
off Jadar the ship foundered under them, and 
there they all perished. 


BIORN, the son of King Harald, ruled in 
those days over Westfold, and abode 
oftest at Tunsberg, and went a-warring 
but little. To Tunsberg came many ships, both 
from the Wick and thereabouts, and from the 
North-country ; from south-away also from Den- 
mark and Saxland. King Biorn also had ships 
a-voyaging to other lands, and he gathered thus 
to him dear-bought things and other goods that 
he deemed he had need of; and his brethren 
called him Biorn the Sea-farer, or the Chapman. 
Biorn was a wise man and a peaceful, and was 
deemed to have in him the makings of a good 
lord ; he wedded well and meetly, and had a son 
named Gudrod. 

The Story of Harald Hairfair. 1 35 

Now came Eric Blood-axe from the Eastlands 
with war-ships and a great company of folk, and 
bade Biorn his brother give up to him the scat 
and dues which King Harald had in Westfold ; 
but the wont was aforetime for Biorn to bring the 
scat to the king himself, or send men therewith ; 
and even so he will have it now, and will not pay 
it out of hand, but Eric deemed he had need of 
victuals and tents and drink. The brethren con- 
tended hereover with high words, but nowise 
might Eric get his needs, so he fared away from 
the town. Biorn also fared away from the town 
in the evening, and up to Seaham. So Eric 
turned back a-night-time after Biorn, and came 
on Seaham as Biorn and his men sat over the 
drink. Eric took the house over their heads, and 
Biorn went out to fight, he and his ; and there fell 
Biorn and many men with him. Eric took great 
booty there, and so went north-away up country. 

The Wick-folk were full evil content with this 
deed, and Eric was evil spoken of therefor ; and 
the word went about that King Olaf would avenge 
Biorn his brother when occasion served. 

King Biorn lieth in Sea-farer's Mound at Sea- 


136 The Saga Library. XXXIX 


HE winter after King Eric fared north to 
Mere, and took guesting at Solvi inward 
of Agdanes. But when Halfdan the 
Black heard thereof he fared thither with an host 
of men, and took the house over their heads ; but 
Eric slept in an outbower, and gat him away to 
the wood with four other men, while Halfdan and 
his men burned up the house and all the folk 
therein. So came Eric to King Harald with these 
tidings. The king was wood-wroth thereat, and 
gathered an host together against the Thrand- 
heimers. But when Halfdan the Black heard 
thereof he bade out folk and ships, and waxed full 
many, and put out to the Stad inward of Thors- 
cliff ; and the king lay with his host out by Rein- 
field. Then went men betwixt them ; and ther^' 
was one Guthorm Cinder, a noble man among the 
folk of Halfdan the Black, who had aforetime 
been with King Harald, and was well loved of 
either. Guthorm was a great skald, and he had 
done a song on both father and son, and they 
had bidden him a reward therefor ; which thing 
he refused, and craved that they should one time 
grant him a boon, and they promised him. So 
now he went to King Harald and bare words of 
peace between them, and now claimed his boon of 
either, to wit, that they should be at one again ; 
and the kings deemed him worth so much honour 
that at his prayer they were appeased. And 
many other noble men also pleaded this cause along 

X L The Story of Harald Hairfair. 1 37 

with him ; and the peace was this, that Halfdan 
should have still the dominion he had had afore- 
time, but he was to give no trouble to Eric his 
brother. After this tale Jorun the Skald-maiden 
hath made somewhat in the Sentbit : 

I learned how Harald Hairfair 
Heard the hard deeds of Halfdan. 
To him that deals with sword edge 
Dark looking shall the deed be. 


Ladir, had had all rule in Thrandheim 
whenas King Harald was otherwhere in 
the land, and Hakon had had the greatest honour 
from the king of all the Thrandheim folk. After 
the fall of Hakon, Sigurd his son took all his 
dominion, and became earl in Thrandheiin, and 
had his abode at Ladir ; with him had been 
nourished the sons of King Harald, Halfdan the 
Black and Sigrod, who had before been in the hands 
of Earl Hakon his father. They were much of an 
age, the sons of King Harald and Earl Sigurd. 
Earl Sigurd wedded Bergliot, daughter of Earl 
Thorir the Silent, and whose mother was Alof 
the Years-heal, daughter of Harald Hairfair. 
Earl Sigurd was the wisest of men. 

But when King Harald grew old he abode 
often at his great manors which he had in Hord- 
land, at Alrek-stead or Seaham, at Fitiar, at Out- 
stone, or at Ogvalldsness in Kormt-isle. When 

138 The Saga Library. XLI 

King Harald was now nigh seventy years old he 
begat a son on a woman named Thora Most-staff, 
whose kin were of Most ; good kin she had, and 
might tell Horda-Kari amongst them. The tallest 
of women was she, and the fairest, and was called 
the king's bondwoman ; for in those days there were 
many of good blood, both men and women, that 
owed homapfe to the kingf. Now the wont it was 
then concerning the children of noble men, to 
seek carefully one who should sprinkle the child 
with water and give it a name. So when the 
time came that Thora looked to bear a child she 
was fain to go seek King Harald, who was as 
then north in Seaham, and she was in Most ; so 
she fared north in Earl Sigurd's ship. And on a 
night when they lay off the land Thora brought 
forth a child on the cliff's side hard by the gang- 
way-head, and a man-child it was ; so Earl Sigurd 
sprinkled the boy with water, and called him Hakon 
after his father Hakon the Ladir-earl. The boy 
was early fair to look on, and great of growth, and 
most like unto his father. King Harald let the lad 
abide with his mother, and they were about the 
king's manors while the lad was yet young. 


THE king in England of those days was 
called Athelstane, who was but newcome 
to the kingdom ; he was called the Vic- 
torious, or the Faithful. 

Now he sent men to Norway to King Harald, 

X L 1 1 The Story of Harald Hairfair. 1 39 

with this-like message, that the messenger should 
go before the king and dehver to him a sword 
done with gold about the hilts and the grip there- 
of, and all its array wrought with gold and with 
silver, and set with dear-bought gems. So the 
messenger reached out the sword-hilt to the king 
and said : " Here is a sword which King Athel- 
stane sendeth thee, bidding thee take it withal." 

So the king took the grip, and straightway spake 
the messenger: " Now hast thou taken the sword 
even as our king would ; wherefore now wilt 
thou be his thane, since thou hast taken his 

Then saw King Harald that this was done to 
mock him ; but no man's thane would he be. 
Nevertheless, he called to mind his wont, that 
whensoever swift rage or anger fell on him, he 
held himself aback at first, and let the wrath run 
off him, and looked at the matter unwrathfuUy ; 
and even so did he now, and laid the matter 
before his friends, who all found a rede hereto, 
and this above all things, that they should let the 
messenger go his ways home unhurt. 


THE next summer King Harald sent a 
ship west to England, and made Hawk 
High-breech captain thereof, a great cham- 
pion and most well-beloved of the king ; into his 
hands gave the king Hakon his son. So Hawk 
fared west to England to see King Athelstane, and 

140 The Saga Library. XLII 

found the king in London, and thereat was there a 
bidding and a feast full worthy. Hawk told his 
men whenas they came to the hall, how they shall 
deal with their entering, saying that he shall go out 
first who came in last, and that all shall stand abreast 
before the board, and each man with his sword at 
his left side, but their cloaks so set on that the 
swords be not seen. So they went into the hall, 
thirty men in company. Hawk went before the 
king- and grreeted him, and the kino- bade him 
welcome. Then took Hawk the lad Hakon and 
laid him on King Athelstane's knee ; the king 
looked on the lad and asked Hawk why he did 
so. Says Hawk : " King Harald biddeth thee 
foster the child of his bondwoman." 

The king was exceeding wroth, and caught up 
his sword that lay beside him, and drew it, as if he 
would slay the lad. Then said Hawk : " Thou 
hast set him on thy knee, and mayst murder him 
if thou wilt, but not thus withal wilt thou make an 
end of all the sons of King Harald." 

Therewith went Hawk out and all his men, 
and they go their ways to their ship and put to 
sea, when they were ready, and so came back to 
Norway to King Harald ; and now was he well 
content, for men ever account the fosterer less 
noble than him whose child he fostereth. By 
such-like dealings of the kings may it be seen 
how either would fain be greater than the other ; 
yet not a whit for all this was any honour of 
either spilt, and either was sovereign lord of his 
realm till his death-day. 

XLIV The Stoyy of Ha raid Ilairfair. 141 


KING ATHELSTANE let christen Ha- 
kon and teach him the right troth, and 
good manners with all kind of prowess. 
Athelstane loved him more than any of his kin, 
yea, moreover, and all men else loved him who 
knew him. He was sithence called Hakon Athel- 
stane's Fosterling ; he was a man of the greatest 
prowess, bigger and stronger and fairer than any 
man else. He was a wise man and of fair speech, 
and a well-christened man. King Athelstane gave 
Hakon a sword whose hilts and grip were all of 
gold ; yet was the brand itself better, for there- 
with did Hakon cleave a quern-stone to the eye, 
wherefore was it called sithence Quern-biter, and 
it was the best sword that ever came to Norway ; 
and Hakon kept it till his death-day. 


NOW was King Harald eighty years old, 
and waxen heavy of foot, so that he 
deemed he might no more fare through 
the land or rule the kingly matters ; so he lead 
Eric his son into the high-seat, and gave him 
dominion over all the land. But when the other 
sons of King Harald knew thereof, then Halfdan 
the Black set himself down in the king's high- 
seat, and took on him all rule in Thrandheim ; 

142 The Saga Libya yy. XLV 

and all the Thrandheimers were consenting to 
that rede with him. 

After the fall of Biorn the Chapman, Olaf his 
brother took the dominion of Westfold, and 
fostered Gudrod Biorn's son. Tryggvi was Olaf 's 
son, and he and Gudrod were foster-brothers, and 
much of an age ; both were most hopeful and full 
of all prowess : Tryggvi was the biggest and 
strongest of men. So when the folk of the Wick 
heard that the Hordlanders had taken Eric for 
sovereign king, then they in like wise took Olaf 
for sovereign king in the Wick, and he held that 
dominion ; and full ill content was Eric thereat. 
Two winters thereafter Halfdan the Black died 
a sudden death at a feast in Thrandheim, and 
it was the common talk of men that Gunnhild 
King-s' - mother had struck a bargain with a 
witch-wife to give him a deadly drink. But 
thereafter the Thrandheimers took Sigrod for 


KING HARALD lived three winters after 
he had given Eric sole dominion over 
his realm, and that while he abode in 
Rogaland or Hordland at the great manors he 
had there. Eric and Gunnhild had a son whom 
King Harald sprinkled with water, and gave his 
own name to, saying that he would have him be 
kinor after his father Eric. 

King Harald gave the more part of his daughters 

XLV The Story of Harald Hairfair. 143 

to his earls in his own land,- and great stocks are 
come thence. 

King Harald died in his bed in Rogaland, and 
was buried at the Howes by Kormt-sound. In 
Howe-sound a church standeth to-day, and just to 
the north-west of the churchyard is the howe of 
King Harald Hairfair; but west of the church lies 
the tombstone of King Harald, which lay over his 
grave in the mound, and the said stone is thirteen 
feet and a half long, and near two ells broad. In 
the midst of the howe was the orrave of Kinof 
Harald, and one stone was set at the head, and 
another at the feet, and on the top thereof was laid 
the flat stone, while a wall of stone is builded below 
it on either side : but those stones which were in the 
howe stand now in the churchyard, as is aforesaid. 

Now so say men of lore that Harald Hairfair 
was the fairest of face of all men that have ever 
been, the biggest and the strongest, the most 
bounteous of his wealth, and the friendliest to his 
men. In his early days he was a great warrior ; 
and common rumour goeth about that great tree 
that his mother saw in her dream, how that it fore- 
shadowed his deeds therein, whereas the lower 
half of the tree was red as blood : and whereas 
the stem thence upward was fair and green, that 
betokened the flourishing of his realm ; but whereas 
the topmost of the tree was white, that betokened 
that he should come to old age and hoary hairs. 
The boughs and limbs of the tree showed forth his 
descendants who were scattered wide about the 
land ; yea, and of his kin also have all kings in 
Norway been sithence. 

144 The Saga Library. XLVI 


KING ERIC took all the dues which the 
king owned amidmost of the land the 
next winter after the death of King 
Harald ; but Olaf ruled east-away in Wick, and 
Sigrod their brother ruled all in Thrandheim. 
Eric was right ill content hereat, and the rumour 
ran that he would seek by the strong hand to get 
from his brethren the sovereisfn rule over all the 
land which his father had given him ; and when 
Olaf and Sigrod heard thereof, messengers fared 
between them, and thereon they made trysting, 
and Sigrod fared east in the spring-tide to the 
Wick, and there met his brother Olaf in Tunsberg, 
and there they abode awhile. That same spring- 
tide Eric called out a great host of men and ships, 
and turned east-away to Wick. King Eric gat so 
fair a wind that he sailed night and day ; nor was 
there any espial of his coming. So when he came 
to Tunsberg, Olaf and Sigrod fared with their 
folk from the town eastward on to the brent 
and there arrayed them. Eric had much the 
greater host, and he won the day, and Olaf and 
Sigrod fell both, and the howes of them both are 
on the brent whereas they lay slain. 

Then King Eric fared all about the Wick and 
subdued it to him, and abode there long that 
summer; but Tryggvi and Gudrod fled away to 
the Uplands. 

Eric was a big man and a fair ; strong, and most 
stout of heart ; a mighty warrior and victorious, 

XLVI The Story of Harald Hairf air. 145 

fierce of mind, grim, unkind, and of few words. 

Gunnhild his wife was the fairest of women, 
wise and cunning in witchcraft; glad of speech 
and guileful of heart, and the grimmest of all folk. 

These are the children of Eric and Gunnhild : 
Gamli the eldest, Guthorm, Harald, Ragnfrod, 
Ragnhild, Erling, Gudrod, and Sigurd Slaver. 
And all Eric's children were fair and full manly. 






IT" AKON, Athelstane's foster-son, was in 
— I England when he heard of the death 
JL of King Harald his father. He straight- 
way arrayed him for departure ; and King Athel- 
stane gave him both folk and fair great ships, and 
arrayed all for him in the seemliest wise. So he 
came to Norway in the autumn-tide. 

Then heard he of the fall of his brethren, and 
therewith how that King Eric was as then in the 
Wick. So Hakon sailed north to Thrandheim, 
and came to Sigurd, the Earl of Ladir, the wisest of 
all men of Norway, and gat good welcome of him; 
and they made covenant together, and Hakon 
promised him great dominion if he might get to be 
king. Then they let summon a Thing of many 
men, and at the Thing Earl Sigurd spake on 
Hakon's behoof, and offered him to the bonders 
for king, and thereafter Hakon himself stood up 
and spake. Then fell a-talking man to man that 
here was come back Harald Hairfair grown young 
a second time. 

150 The Saga Library. I 

Now the beeinnine of Hakon's word was that 
he bade them take him for king, and so name 
him, and therewithal to give him help and 
strength to hold his kingdom ; but in return he 
offered to make them all as free-born bonders, and 
that they should dwell every man on his free 

At this harangue was there so great a stir that the 
whole throng of bonders shouted, and cried out 
that they would take him for king. 

And so it came to pass that they of Thrandheim 
took Hakon for king over all the land ; and in 
those days was Hakon fifteen winters old. 

So he took to him a body-guard and went through 
the land. Now came tidings to the Uplands that 
the Thrandheimers had taken one for king like in 
all wise to Harald Hairfair, if it were not that 
Harald had enthralled and oppressed all the folk 
of the land, whereas this Hakon willed good to 
every man, and offered to give back to the bonders 
theodal rights which King Harald had taken from 
them. All were glad at those tidings, and one man 
told the other, till it ran like wild-fire all through 
the land to the land's-end. Many bonders fared 
from the Uplands to go see King Hakon ; some 
sent men, some sent messengers and tokens ; and 
all to one end, to wit, that they would be his men ; 
and the king took all with thanks. 

1 1 -1 1 1 The Story of Hakon the Good. 1 5 1 


KING HAKON fared in the beginning of 
winter to the Uplands, and summoned 
Things there, and all folk that might 
come came thronging to meet him ; and at all 
Things was he taken for king. Then he fared east 
to the Wick ; andTryggvi and Gudrod, his brothers' 
sons, came to meet him, and many others, who told 
over the sorrows they had borne from King Eric 
his brother. So ever the more waxed the enmity 
against Eric as to all men King Hakon grewdearer, 
and each felt moreemboldened to speak as he thought. 

King Hakon gave a king's name to Tryggviand 
Gudrod, and the same dominion which Harald 
his father had given to their fathers ; to Tryggvi 
gave he Van-realm and Vingulmark, and to Gud- 
rod, Westfold. But whereas they were young 
and but children, he set noble men and wise to rule 
the land with them ; and he gave the land to them 
on that covenant aforesaid, that they should have 
half of the dues and scat against him. 

So King Hakon went north in the spring-tide 
through the Upper Uplands to Thrandheim. 


KING HAKON drew together a great 
host in spring-tide, and arrayed his ships ; 
and the folk of the Wick also had a great 
company afield, and were minded to meet him. 

152 The Saga Library. Ill 

Then King Eric too called out men from the mid 
land, but was ill-furnished with folk, because many of 
the great men had turned from him and gone over to 
Hakon. But when he saw that he had no might to 
withstand the host of Hakon, he sailed West-over- 
sea with such folk as would follow him. He fared 
first to the Orkneys, and had thence a great com- 
pany ; then he sailed south toward England, and 
harried about Scotland wheresoever he made land; 
and then he harried all about the north parts of 
England. Now Athelstane, the English king, sent 
word to Eric, bidding him take dominion of him ; 
saying that King Harald his father had been a 
great friend of his, wherefore he was fain thus to 
make it avail to his son. So men went between 
the kings, and they made peace with sworn troth 
on such covenant that King Eric should take 
Northumberland to hold of King Athelstane, and 
should ward the land from the Danes and other 
vikings ; he should let himself be christened also, 
with his wife and children, and all the folk that had 
followed him thither. That choice took Eric, and 
was christened and took the right troth. 

Now Northumberland is accounted the fifth 
part of England. Eric had his abode at York, 
whereas, say folk, Lodbrok's sons had aforetime 
abided. Northumberland was mostly peopled by 
Northmen after Lodbrok's sons had won the 
land. Full oft had Danes and Northmen harried 
therein since the dominion thereof had departed 
from them. Many steads in that land are named 
after the Northern tongue, Grimsby to wit, and 
Hawkfleet, and many others. 

IV The Story of Hakon the Good. 153 


KING ERIC had many men about him; 
for he kept there many Northmen who had 
come from the East with him, and more- 
over many of his friends came afterward from 
Norway. But whereas he had but little land, he 
fared ever a-warring in summer-tide ; he harried 
in Scotland and the South-isles, Ireland and 
Wales, and so gat wealth to him. 

King Athelstane died in his bed whenas he had 
been kina: fourteen winters and eigfht weeks and 
three days. After him was Edmund his brother 
king of England. He could not away with 
Northmen, nor was King Eric beloved of him, 
and the word went about King Edmund that he 
would set another king over Northumberland; 
and when King Eric heard that, he went a-warring 
in the West, and had with him from the Orkneys 
Earls Arnkel and Erland, the sons of Turf-Einar. 
Then he went to the South-isles, and found there 
many vikings and kings of hosts, and they joined 
themselves to King Eric, and with the whole host 
he went first to Ireland, and had thence such folk 
as he might get. Thereafter he fared to Wales, 
and harried there ; thence he sailed south under 
England, and harried there as in other places, and 
all the people fled away wheresoever he came. 

Now whereas Eric was a most daring man, and 
had a great host, he trusted so well to his folk that 
he went a long way up into the land, and harried 
and followed up the fleers ; but there was a king 

1 54 The Saga Library. V 

called Olaf whom King Edmund had set there for 
the warding of the land, and he drew together an 
army not to be withstood, and fell on King Eric, 
and there was a great battle ; many of the English 
folk fell, but ever whereas one fell, came three in 
his place down from the land, and by the latter end 
of the day the fall of men turned toward the side 
of the Northmen, and there died full many folk ; 
and ere this day was ended fell King Eric and 
five kings with him, which are named, Guthorm 
and his two sons, Ivar and Harek. There fell 
also Sigurd and Rognvald, and there fell withal 
Arnkel and Erland, the sons of Turf-Einar. Yea, 
and there was an exceeding great fall of the North- 
men, but they who escaped fared back to North- 
umberland and told Gunnhild and her sons of 
these tidingfs. 



N' OW when Gunnhild and her sons knew 
that King Eric was fallen, and that he 
had before that harried the land of the 
English king, they deemed full surely that they 
might look for no peace there ; so they straight- 
way got them gone from Northumberland, and had 
all the ships that King Eric had had, and such 
folk as would follow them, and plenteous wealth 
withal, which they had gotten together, part by the 
tribute of England and part by warring. They 
turned their host first north-away to the Orkneys 
and took up their abode there awhile, and the earl 

VI The Story of Hakon the Good. 155 

there in those days was Thorfinn Skull-cleaver, son 
of Turf-Einar. So Eric's sons took to them the 
Orkneys and Shetlands, and had scat from them, 
and abode there a-winter-tide and harried in 
summer about Scotland and Ireland. 
Hereof telleth Glum Geirason : 

The bairn-young wise wayfarer, 
The rider of the strand-steed, 
A goodly way had wended 
Thence, and all on to Skaney. 
The upright fight-fires speeder 
Won sons of men in Scotland, 
And sent therefrom to Odin 
Hosts of the men sword-smitten. 

The folk's friend drave the fight-flames 
To gladden choughs of the Valkyrs; 
Of the Erse folk many a war-host 
Betook them unto fleeing. 
The Frey of the land of people, 
Of victory well-beloved, 
In man's blood reddened edges, 
And felled folk in the Southland. 


KING HAKON, Athelstane's foster- 
son, subdued to him all Norway, when 
King Eric his brother had fled the land. 
King Hakon abode the first winter in the West- 
country, and thereafter went north to Thrandheim 
and abode there ; but whereas that he doubted of 
war if perchance King Eric should come with an 
host from West-over-sea, for that cause he sat 
with his host in the mid land of the Firth-country, 

156 The Saga Library. VI 

or Sogn, or Hordaland, or Rogaland. Hakon 
set Earl Sigiird, the Earl of Ladir, over all Thrand- 
heim whereas he had been lord aforetime, and 
Hakon his father also under King Harald Hairfair. 

But when Hakon heard of the fall of Eric his 
brother, and withal that Eric's sons durst not abide 
in Enofland, he deemed there was little need to 
dread them, and so fared with his folk one summer 
east into the Wick. In these days the Danes harried 
much in the Wick, and wrought full oft great 
scathe there ; but when they heard that King 
Hakon was come thither with a great host, they 
fled all away, some south to Halland, but otherswho 
were nigher to King Hakon stood out to sea, and so 
south to Jutland. And when King Hakon was 
ware of this, he sailed after them with all his host, 
and, coming to Jutland, harried there. And when 
the folk of the land were ware of it, they drew 
together an host and would defend their land, and 
joined battle with King Hakon. There was a 
great battle, and King Hakon fought so mightily 
that he went on before his banner unhelmed and 
unbyrnied. King Hakon won the day, and followed 
the chase far up into the land. 

Sosayeth Guthorm Cinder in the Hakon's-drapa: 

The ship's blue stream now wended 
The king with oars spray-washen ; 
The high lord felled the Jute-folk 
In the drift of battle's maiden. 
The feeder of swans of Odin 
Drave flight e'en as his will was, 
The covering of the lurers 
To crows' wine brake asunder. 

VI I-VI 1 1 The Story of Hakon the Good. 1 57 


THENCE King Hakon made south with 
his host for Selund, and sought the 
vikings there. He rowed with two cutters 
forth into Eresound, and there fell in with eleven 
cutters of the vikings, and straightway joined battle 
with them, and the end thereof was that he won 
the day, and cleared all the craft of the vikings. 
So sayeth Guthorm Cinder : 

Speeder of gales of bow-drifts' 
Fires from the South came faring 
To the green ness of the Seal-wound 
With but two plate-decked sea-steeds, 
Whenas the all-wroth sender 
Of the wand of slaughter cleared them, 
Eleven keels of Dane-folk, 
Far famed therefor e'er after. 


THEREAFTER King Hakon harried wide 
about in Selund, and plundered many 
folk and slew some, and had away some 
as captives, and took great fines from some, nor 
found aught to withstand him. 
So sayeth Guthorm Cinder : 

The blackthorn of the onset 
Gat this, to conquer Selund, 
And the safe-guard of the Vend-host 
Along the side of Skaney. 

Then went King Hakon east along Skaney- 

158 The Saga Libyayy. IX 

side, and harried all, and took fines and scat from 
the land, and slew all vikings wheresoever he 
found them, were they Danes or Vends. 

Then went he east-away beyond Gautland and 
harried there, and gat great tribute from the land. 

So sayeth Guthorm Cinder : 

Shielded by skirt of Odin 
He won scat of the Gautfolk ; 
Gold-hewer the all-bounteous 
Won spear-storms in that faring. 

King Hakon went back in autumn-tide with his 
folk, and had gotten to him exceeding great wealth. 
He abode that winter in the Wick, against onsets, 
if perchance the Danes or Gautlanders should do 
the same. 


THAT same autumn had King Tryggvi 
Olafson come from warring in the West ; 
and he had as then been harrying in 
Ireland and Scotland. In the spring King Hakon 
went into the North-country, and set Tryggvi his 
brother's son over the Wick to guard it against 
war, and to get what he might from those lands of 
Denmark whereas King Hakon had taken scat the 
summer before. 

So sayeth Guthorm Cinder : 

The helmet's ice-rod's reddener 
Hath set the brave mind-gladdener 
Over the maid of Onar, 
The oak-green of the Southland ; 
The ever-nimble breaker 

X The Story of Hakon the Good. 1 59 

Of Swegdir's hall of battle, 

Who erst had come from Ireland 

With a host on the Swan-mead's runners. 


those days over Denmark ; and he was 
exceeding ill content that King Hakon 
had harried in his land, and rumour ran that the 
Dane-king would fain avenge it ; but nought so 
speedily came that about. 

But when Gunnhild and her sons heard hereof, 
that unpeace was toward betwixt Denmark and 
Norway, they arrayed their departure from the 
west : they gave Ragnhild, the daughter of King 
Eric, to Arnfinn, the son of Thorfinn Skull-cleaver. 
So Thorfinn abode still earl in the Orkneys when 
Eric's sons went away. Gamli Ericson was some- 
what the eldest of them, yet was not he fully come 
to manhood. 

So when Gunnhild came to Denmark with her 
sons she fared to meet King Harald, and had 
good welcome of him. King Harald gave them 
lands in his realm so great that they might well 
keep them there in good fortune, they and their 
men ; but he took into fostering Harald Ericson, 
and set him on his knee, and he grew up there in 
the court of the Dane-king. Some of Eric's sons 
fared a- warring as soon as they were of age thereto, 
and so gathered wealth ; they harried about the 
East-lands. They were early fair to look on, and of 
manhood in strength and prowess beyond their years . 

i6o The Saga Library. XI 

Hereof telleth Glum Geirason in the Greycloak's 
Drapa : 

A many in the Eastlands 
Gat them a war-shrine smitten, 
The mighty skalds' gift-giver 
Gained victory in the journey. 
The king set there a-singing, 
The sheath-tongues gold bewrapped, 
And hosts of the wight sword-players 
Unto the ground he sent them. 

Then turned Eric's sons also north to the Wick 
with their host, and harried there ; but Tryggvi 
called out his folk and turned to meet them, and they 
had many battles, wherein now one, now the other 
prevailed ; and whiles Eric's sons harried in the 
Wick, whiles Tryggvi harried in Selund or Halland. 


WHENAS Hakon was king in Norway 
was there good peace amidst bonders 
and chapmen, so that none did hurt to 
other, nor to other's wealth, and plenteous were the 
seasons both by land and by sea. 

King Hakon was the blithest of all men, and 
the sweetest-spoken, and the kindest ; he was a 
very wise man, and turned his mind much to law- 
making. He set forth the Gula-thlngs Laws with 
the help and counsel of Thorleif the Wise, and 
also the Frosta-things Laws, with the rede of Earl 
Sigurd and other Thrandheimers of the wisest ; but 
the Heidsaevis Law Halfdan the Black had set forth 
aforetime, as is written afore. 

X I I-X 1 1 1 77/^ Story ofHakon the Good. 1 6 1 


KING HAKON held his Yule-feast in 
Thrandheim, which feast Earl Sigurd 
arrayed for him at Ladir. Thereon the 
first night of Yule, Bergliot, the earl's wife, brought 
forth a man-child ; and the next day King Hakon 
sprinkled the lad with water, and gave him his own 
name, and he waxed up and became a mighty 
man and a noble, and became earl after Sigurd his 

Earl Sigurd was the dearest of friends to King 


EYSTEIN, King of the Uplands, whom 
some called the Mighty and some the 
Evil, harried in Thrandheim, and laid 
under him Isles'-folk and Spar-biders-folk, and set 
his son Onund over them ; but the Thrandheimers 
slew him. King Eystein fared a-warring the second 
time into Thrandheim, and harried wide there, and 
laid folk under him. Then he bade the Thrand- 
heimers choose whether they would have for 
king his thrall, who was called Thorir Faxi, or 
his hound, who was called Saur ; so they chose the 
hound, deeming they would then the rather do their 
own will. Then let they bewitch into the hound 
the wisdom of three men, and he barked two words 
and spake the third. A collar was wrought for 


1 62 The Saga Library. XIV 

him, and chains of gold and silver ; and whenso the 
ways were miry, his courtmen bare him on their 
shoulders. A high-seat was dight for him, and he 
sat on howe as kings do ; he dwelt at the Inner 
Isle, and had his abode at the stead called Saur's 
Howe. And so say folk that he came to his death 
in this wise, that the wolves fell on his flocks and 
herds, and his courtmen egged him on to defend 
his sheep ; so he leaped down from his howe, and 
went to meet the wolves, but they straightway tore 
him asunder. 

Many other marvellous deeds wrought King 
Eystein with the Thrandheimers ; and from the 
warring and trouble of him fled away many lords, 
and other folk also, a many, fled away from their 
free lands. 


KETIL JAMTI, the son of Earl Onund 
of the Spar-biders, went east-away over 
the Keel, and a great company of men with 
him, who had their households with them. They 
cleared the woods, and peopled great country-sides 
there, and that was called sithence Jamtland. 

The son's son of Ketil was Thorir Helsing, who 
for slayings he wrought fled from Jamtland and 
east-away through the woods of that land and 
settled there, and many folk resorted thither to 
him, and that land is called Helsingland, and 
goeth east right down to the sea ; but all eastern- 
most Helsingland down by the sea the Swedes 

XV The Story of Hakon the Good. 163 

peopled. Also when King Harald Hairfair cleared 
the land before him, then fled away because of him 
many men from the land, men of Thrandheim and 
Naumdale. Then befell anew peopling of the east 
parts of Jamtland, and some went right into 
Helsingland. The folk of Helsingland dealt in 
chaffer with the Swedes, and were altogether 
bound in tribute to them ; but they of Jamtland 
were much betwixt and between folk, and none 
took heed thereof until Kinof Hakon established 
good peace and chaffer with Jamtland, and made 
friends there with the great men. So they came 
from the east to meet him, and assented to the 
obeying of him and giving him scat, and so be- 
came the king's thanes, because they had heard 
tell good of him ; and they would liefer be under 
his rule than under the sway of the Swede king, 
whereas they were come of the blood of the North- 
men. So he set law amongst them and good ruling 
of the land. 

And in this wise did all they of Helsingland 
who were come of kin north of the Keel. 


KING HAKON was a well-christened 
man when he came to Norway; but 
whereas all the land was heathen, and 
folk much given to sacrificing, and many great 
men in the land, and that he deemed he lacked 
men sorely and the love of all folk, he took such 

164 The Saga Library. XV 

rede that he fared privily with his Christian faith. 
Sunday he held and the Friday fast, and held in 
memory the greatest high-tides, and he made a 
law that Yule should be holden the same time as 
Christian men hold it, and that every man at that 
tide should brew a meal of malt or pay money else, 
and keep holy tide while Yule lasted. But afore- 
time was Yule holden on Hogmanay night, that 
is to say, mid-winter night, and Yule was holden 
for three nights. 

Now he was minded that when he was set fast in 
the land, and had gotten it all to him freely to hold, 
he would then set forth the Christian faith. And 
at the beginning he wrought in such wise that he 
lured such as were best beloved by him to become 
Christians, and so much did his friendship prevail 
herein, that very many let themselves be chris- 
tened, and othersome left off blood-offering. 

He abode for the more part in Thrandheim 
because the most strength of the land was therein. 

So at last when King Hakon deemed he had 
gotten strength enough in certain mighty men to 
uphold the Christian faith, he sent to England for 
a bishop and other teachers ; and when they came 
to Norway, then did King Hakon lay bare that 
he would bid all the land to the Christian faith. 
But they of Mere and Raumsdale put the matter 
wholly on them of Thrandheim; so King Hakon 
let hallow certain churches, and set priests thereto. 
And when he came to Thrandheim, he summoned 
the bonders to a Thing, and bade them take the 
Christian faith. They answered that they would 
put off the matter to the Frosta Thing, and that 

XVI The Story of Hakon the Good. 165 

they will that thither come men from all the 
countries that are in Thrandheim, and they say 
that then will they answer this hard matter. 


EARL SIGURD of Ladir was much 
given to blood-offerings, and so had been 
Hakon his father. Earl Sigurd upheld 
all feasts of blood-offering there in Thrandheim 
on the king's behoof. It was the olden custom 
that when a blood-offering should be, all the 
bonders should come to the place where was the 
Temple, bringing with them all the victuals they 
had need of while the feast should last ; and at 
that feast should all men have ale with them. 
There also was slain cattle of every kind, and horses 
withal ; and all the blood that came from them 
was called hlaut, but hlaut-bowls were they called 
wherein the blood stood, and the hiaut-tein a rod 
made in the fashion of a sprinkler. With all the 
hlaut should the stalls of the gods be reddened, 
and the walls of the temple within and without, and 
the men-folk also besprinkled ; but the flesh was to 
be sodden for the feasting of men. Fires were to be 
made in the midst of the floor of the temple, with 
caldrons thereover, and the health-cups should be 
borne over the fire. But he who made the feast 
and was the lord thereof should sign the cups and 
all the meat ; and first should be drunken Odin's cup 
for the victory and dominion of the king, and 
then the cup of Niord and the cup of Frey for 
plentiful seasons and peace. Thereafter were many 

1 66 The Saga Library. XVII 

men wont to drink the Bragi-cup ; and men drank 
also a cup to their kinsmen dead who had been 
noble, and that was called the cup of Memory. 
Now Earl Sigurd was the most bounteous of men, 
and he did a deed that was great of fame, whereas 
he made great feast of sacrifice at Ladir, and 
alone sustained all the costs thereof. Hereof 
telleth Kormak the son of Ogmund in the Sigurd's 
Drapa : 

Let none bear bowl nor basket 
Unto Thiassi's offspring. 
E'en to the great gold-wounder, 
When gods have feast before them. 
What creature would encumber 
The greatness of the glaive-god, 
When the lord of fen-fire feasteth 
All folk ? For gems the king fought. 


KING HAKON came to the Frosta-Thing, 
and thither were come also great throngs 
of the bonders ; and when the Thinor 
was duly ordered King Hakon spake, and began 
in this wise : That it was his bidding and prayer 
to bonders and farming thanes, to mighty and 
unmighty, yea, to all the people, young men and old, 
rich and poor, men and women, that they all should 
be christened and believe in one God, Christ to 
wit, die son of Mary ; that they should put from 
them all blood-offering and the heathen gods ; 
that they should keep holy every seventh day from 
all work, and fast also every seventh day. But 

XVII The Story of Hakou the Good. 167 

as soon as the king had put this before the people 
there uprose a great murmur, of the bonders 
murmuring how the king would take from them 
their work ; saying that in this wise the land might 
have no husbandry. And the workmen and 
thralls cried out that they might not work if they 
lacked meat. They said also that such was the 
turn of mind of King Hakon and his father, and 
of his kin withal, that they were niggard of their 
meat, howso bountiful of gold they might be. 

Therewith stood up Asbiorn of Middlehouse in 
Gauldale, and answered the king's harangue, and 
spake: "So deemed we bonders, King Hakon," 
says he, " when thou didst hold that first Thing 
here in Thrandheim, and we took thee for king, 
and had of thee our free lands, that we had 
verily taken hold of heaven ; but now wot we 
not whether we have any the more gotten our 
freedom, or whether rather thou wilt not enthrall 
us anew in wonderful wise, that we should cast 
away the troth that our fathers have held before 
us, and all our forefathers, first in the Burning 
Age, and now after in the Age of Howes ; and far 
mightier they were than we, and this their troth 
has availed us well. Such love have we given 
thee that we have let thee have thy way amongst 
us in all laws and rulinof of the land. But now 
this is our will, and the common consent of the 
bonders, that we will hold to those laws which 
thou gavest us here at the Frosta-Thing, and to 
which we assented ; we will all follow thee and 
hold thee for king while we have life, each and all 
of us bonders here at this Thing, if thou, O king, 

i68 The Saga Libmyy. XVII 

wilt forbear somewhat with us, and bid us such 
things only as we may give thee, and are not unmeet 
for us to do. But if thou wilt take up this matter 
in so headstrong a wise as to deal with us with 
might and mastery, then are we bonders of one con- 
sent to depart us from thee and to take us another 
lord, who shall rule us in such wise that we may 
hold in peace the troth that is most to our mind. 
Now shalt thou, O king, choose between these 
two ways before the Thing be come to an end." 

At these words was there great stir among the 
bonders, and they cried out that so would they 
have it as he spake. But when silence was gotten, 
then answered Earl Sigurd : " It is the will of 
King Hakon to be of one accord with you, O 
bonders, and never to depart the friendship be- 
tween you and him." 

Then said the bonders that they would have the 
king do blood-offering on their behoof for plen- 
teous seasons and peace, as his father did before 
him. And therewith the murmur abated and they 
brake up the Thing. Then talked Earl Sigurd to 
the king, praying him not to deny utterly to do as 
the bonders would, and saying that there was 
nought else for it ; " For this is, O king, as thou 
thyself mayst hear, the will and longing of the 
lords, and of all folk besides ; and some good rede 
shall we find hereto, O king." 

So the king and the earl accorded hereon. 

XVIII The Story of Hakon the Good. 169 


IN the autumn-tide at winter-nights was there 
a blood-offering held at Ladir, and the king 
went thereto. Heretofore he had ever been 
wont, if he were abiding at any place where was a 
feast of blood-offering going on, to eat his meat in 
a little house with but few folk, but now the 
bonders murmured at it, that he sat not in his own 
high-seat, where the feast of men was greatest ; 
and the earl said to the king that so he would not 
do as now. So it was therefore that the king sat in 
his high-seat. But when the first cup was poured, 
then spake Earl Sigurd thereover, and signed the cup 
to Odin, and drank off the horn to the king. Then 
the king took it, and made the sign of the cross 
thereover ; and Kar of Griting spake and said : 
"Why doeth the king thus, will he not do worship ?" 
Earl Sigurd answers : " The king doth as they all 
do who trow in their own might and main, and he 
signeth the cup to Thor. For he made the sign 
of the hammer over it before he drank." So all 
was quiet that eve. But on the morrow, when 
men went to table, the bonders thronged the king, 
bidding him eat horse-flesh, and in no wise the 
king would. Then they bade him drink the broth 
thereof, but this would he none the more. Then 
would they have him eat of the dripping, but he 
would not ; and it went nigh to their falling on 
him. Then strove Earl Sigurd to appease them, 
and bade them lay the storm ; but the king he 

lyo The Saga Library. XIX 

bade gape over a kettle-bow, whereas the reek of 
seething had gone up from the horse-flesh, so that 
the kettle-bow was all greasy. Then went the king 
thereto, and spread a linen cloth over the kettle- 
bow, and gaped thereover, and then went back to 
the high-seat ; but neither side was well pleased 


THE next winter was the Yule-feast 
arrayed for the king in Mere. But when 
time wore towards Yule, the eight lords 
who had most dealing in blood-offerings of all 
Thrandheim appointed a meeting between them ; 
four were from the Outer Thrandheim, to wit, Kar 
of Griting, Asbiorn of Middlehouse, Thorberg of 
Varness, and Worm of Lioxa ; but they from the 
Inner Thrandheim were Botolf of Olvirshowe, 
Narfi of Staff in Verdale, Thrand o' Chin from 
Eggia, and Thorir Beard from Houseby in the 
Inner Isle. So these eight men bound themselves 
to this, that the four of Outer Thrandheim should 
make an end of the Christian faith in Norway, 
and the four of Inner Thrandheim should compel 
the king to blood-offering. 

So the Outer Thrandheimers fared in four ships 
south to Mere, and there slew three priests, and 
burned three churches, and so gat them back 
again. But when King Hakon came to Mere with 
his court and Earl Sigurd, there were the bonders 
come in great throngs. The very first day of the 

XX The Story of Hakon the Good, i^ji 

feast the bonders pressed hard on the king bidding 
him offer, and threatening him with all things ill if 
he would not. Earl Sigurd strove to make peace 
between them, and the end of it was that King 
Hakon ate some bits of horse-liver, and drank 
crossless all the cups of memory that the bonders 
poured for him. But so soon as the feast was 
ended, the king and the earl went out to Ladir. 
Of full little cheer was the king, and straightway 
he arrayed him for departing from Thrandheim 
with all his court, saying that he would come with 
more men another time, and pay back the bonders 
for the enmity they had shown him. 

But Earl Sigurd prayed the king not to hold 
them of Thrandheim for his foes for this ; and said 
that no good would come to the king of threaten- 
ing or warring against the folk of his own land, 
and the very pith of his realm, as were the folk of 
Thrandheim. But the king was so wroth, that no 
speech might be held with him. He departed 
from Thrandheim, and went south to Mere, and 
abode there that winter and on into spring; and 
as it summered he drew together an host, and 
rumour ran that he would fall on the Thrand- 
heimers therewith. 



UT when King Hakon was come aboard 
ship with a great host, there came to him 
tidings from the South-country, to wit, that 
the sons of King Eric were come north from Den- 


172 The Saga Library. XX 

mark into the Wick, and therewithal that they had 
chased King Tryggvi Olafson from his ships cast- 
away by Sotanes. They had harried wide about in 
the Wick, and many men had submitted them- 
selves to them. So when King Hakon heard 
these tidings him-seemed he needed folk, and he 
sent word to Earl Sigurd to come to him, and 
other lords from whom he looked for help. 

Earl Sigurd came to King Hakon with a very 
great host, wherein were all they of the Thrand- 
heimers who in the winter-tide laid hardest on the 
king to worry him to blood-offering ; and all these 
were taken into peace of the king at the pleading 
of Earl Sigurd. 

Then fared King Hakon south along the land, 
and when he was come south round about the 
Stad, he heard that Eric's sons were come into 
North Agdir. Either side fared against the other, 
and they met by Kormt Isle. There went both 
sides from out their ships, and they fought at 
Ogvaldsness ; and either host was of very many 
men, and there befell a great fight. King Hakon 
fell on fiercely, and King Guthorm, Eric's son, was 
before him with his company, and the two kings 
came to handy-strokes. There fell King Guthorm, 
and his banner was smitten down and many of his 
people died about him. Thereon fell the folk of 
Eric's sons to flight, and they gat them away to 
their ships and rowed away, and had lost a many 

Thereof telleth Guthorm Cinder : 

The eker of din of Valkyr 
Let fight-moons clash together 

XXI The story of Hakon the Good. 173 

Over the heads of slain ones, 

Erst wasters of the hand-warp. 

The Niord of the fire of wide-lands 

Of sound-steeds then departed 

From the Niord of the moon of roaring 

Of the swords, left weapon-wounded. 

King Hakon fared to his ships and sailed south 
after Gunnhild's sons, and either side did their most 
might till they were come into East Agdir. Thence 
sailed Eric's sons into the main, and so south to 
Jutland ; as saith Guthorm Cinder : 

The brethren of the awer 

Of bow-draught now full often 

Must learn of might down-crushing 

At the hands of wound-fires' Balder. 

I mind me how fight-seeker 

Of the flood-craft steered ships seaward, 

And drave all sons of Eric, 

His brother, off before him. 

Then fared King Hakon back into Norway, 
and Eric's sons abode again in Denmark for a long 


FTER this battle King Hakon made a 
law for all the land by the sea-side, and so 
far up into the land as a salmon swimmeth 
furthest, whereby he ordered all the peopled lands, 
and divided them into ship-raths, and settled the tale 
of ship-raths in each folk-land. In every folk-land 
was it appointed how many ships and how great 
should be fitted out from each, when the common 
muster of all men should be, which muster afore- 


174 The Saga Library. XXII 

said should be made whensoever outland war was 
come to the land ; and along with the said muster 
beacons should be made on high mountains so 
that each might be seen from the other. And 
so say men that in seven days ran the tidings of 
war from the southernmost beacon to the northern- 
most Thing-stead in Halogaland. 


ERIC'S sons fared oft a-warring in the East- 
lands, but whiles they harried in Norway 
as is aforewrit. When King Hakon 
ruled over Norway were there plenteous seasons 
in the land ; and most well-beloved he was. 
Withal there was good peace. Now whenas King 
Hakon had been king in Norway twenty winters 
came Eric's sons north from Denmark with an 
exceeding great host ; a great company indeed 
was that which had followed them in their warring, 
but far ereater was the host of the Danes that 

King- Harald Gormson had given into their hands. 
They gat a fair wind and sailed out from Vendil 
and hove up from the main to Agdir, and thence 
sailed north along the land day and night. But 
the beacons were not lighted up for this cause : 
the wont was, that the beacon-fires went west-along 
the land, but east-away had none been ware of 
their going. This went to bring it about moreover, 
that the king had laid heavy penalty for the wrong- 
ful lighting of the beacons, on such as should be 
found and proven guilty thereof; because war- 
ships and vikings would be a-harrying in the 

XXIII The Story of Hakoii the Good. 1 7 5 

outer isles, and the folk of the land would be 
thinking that these were none else than the sons 
of Eric ; and then would the bale-fires be lighted, 
and all the land would run to weapons ; but Eric's 
sons would go back to Denmark, having no Danish 
host, nought save their own following. Or indeed 
would it whiles be other kind of vikings ; and 
hereof was King Hakon exceeding wroth, whereas 
toil and cost came thereof and no profit ; and withal 
the bonders for their part cried out when it went 

So for this cause it was that no tidings of Eric's 
sons went before them till they came north to 
Wolf-sound. There they lay seven nights ; then 
fared tidings in-land over Eid and so north across 
Mere ; but King Hakon was as then in North- 
mere in the isle of Fraedi, at a stead called Birch- 
strand, a manor of his, and had no folk save his 
own courtmen and the bonders who had been 
bidden to the guesting. 


THE spies came to King Hakon and told 
him their errand, to wit, that Eric's sons 
were south of the Stad with a great host. 
Then he let call to him such men as were wisest 
and sought counsel of them, whether he should 
fight with Eric's sons for all their greater multi- 
tude, or should flee away north, and get him more 
men. Now there was a bonder there higrht Egfil 
Woolsark, a very old man now, but once bigger 

176 The Saga Library. XXIV 

and stronger than any man, and the greatest of 
warriors, and a long while had he borne the banner 
of King Harald Hairfair. So Egil answered the 
king's word and said : " I have been in certain 
battles with King Harald thy father, and whiles he 
fought with more folk, whiles with less, yet ever 
had he the victory ; nor ever did I hear him seek 
counsel of his friends to teach him how to flee ; 
and no such lesson will we learn thee, king, for a 
stout-hearted lord we deem we have, and of us 
thou shalt have trusty following." 

Many others there were also who stood by him 
in his speech. Yea, and the king also said that this 
was what he was fainest of, to fight with such folk 
as might there be gotten. So was it settled, and 
the king let shear up the war-arrow, and sent it out 
on all sides, and let gather what host he might get. 
Then spake Egil Woolsark : 

" A while was I dreading amid this long peace 
that I should die of eld within doors on my 
straw-bed, for as fain as I was to fall in battle 
a-following my own lord : and lo ! now may it be 
even so, ere all is over." 


THE sons of Eric sailed north round about 
the Stad as soon as they had wind at will ; 
but when they were come north of the 
Stad, they heard where King Hakon was, and fare 
to meet him. King Hakon had nine ships ; he 
lay under the north side of Frsedisberg in Sheppey 

XXIV The Story of Hakon the Good. 177 

Sound. But Eric's sons lay-to south of the berg and 
had more than twenty ships. King Hakon sent 
them word, bidding them go aland, and saying 
that he had pitched a hazelled field for them at 
Rast-Kalf. There are there flat meads and wide, 
and above them a long brent somewhat low. So 
Eric's sons go forth from their ships and fare over 
the neck inward of Fraedisberg and so on to 
Rast-Kalf. Then spake Egil to King Hakon, 
bidding him give him ten men and ten banners ; 
and the king did so, and Egil went with his men 
up under the brent. But King Hakon went on to 
the fields with his folk, and set up his banner, and 
arrayed them, saying : " We will have a long 
array, so that they may not encompass us, though 
they have the more folk." So did they, and there 
befell a great battle, and full sharp was the onset. 
Then let Egil Woolsark set up those ten banners 
that he had, and ordered the men that bare them 
in such wise that they went as nigh the brent's top 
as might be, and let there be a certain space between 
each man of them. So did they, going right by the 
brow of the brent, even as they would fall on the 
back of the folk of Eric's sons. That saw the hinder- 
most of Eric's sons' array, how many banners came 
on flying apace and fluttering over the brow of the 
brent, and they deemed that a great host would be 
coming after, and would fall on their backs, and cut 
them off from their ships. Then arose a great cry, 
and either told other what was betid, and thereon 
fell flight among their array ; and when the kings 
saw that, they fled away. King Hakon set on hard, 
and followed up the fleers and slew much folk. 


178 The Saga Library. XXV-VI 


GAMLI ERICSON, when he came up on 
to the brow of the brent, turned back and 
saw that no more folk were following 
them than they had dealt with afore, and that this 
was but a beguiling. Then let King Gamli blow 
up the war-blast, and set up his banner and drew 
his folk into array ; and all the Northmen turned 
thereto, but the Danes fled to the ships. So when 
King Hakon and his folk came up with them, 
then was there anew the fiercest fisfht. Now had 
King Hakon the more folk, and the end of it was 
that Eric's sons fled, making south from the neck ; 
but some of their men ran south on to the berg, 
and King Harald followed them. A flat field is 
to the east of the neck and goeth west toward the 
berg, and sheer rocks cut it off on the westward. 
Thither on to the berg ran Gamli's men ; but 
King Hakon fell on them so fiercely that he slew 
some, and some leapt west over the berg, and 
either band died ; and King Hakon left not till 
every man of them was slain. 


GAMLI ERICSON fled from the neck 
down on to the i^lain south of the berg. 
Then yet again turned King Gamli and 
upheld the battle, and yet again drew folk unto 
him. Thither also came all his brethren, each with 
a great company. Egil Woolsark was as then 

XXVI The Story of Hakon the Good. 179 

leading Hakon's men, and set on full fiercely, and 
Gamli and he gat to handy-strokes, and King 
Gamli was sore wounded, but Egil fell, and many 
men with him. Then came up King Hakon with 
the company that had followed him, and there was 
yet again a new battle. Full hard then set on King 
Hakon, and smote men down on either hand, and 
felled one on the top of other. So singeth 
Guthorm Cinder : 

Afeard before gold-waster 
Fled all the host of sword-song ; 
The dauntless warflames'-speeder 
Went forth before his banner. 
The king who gat great plenty 
Of the breeze of Mani's darling. 
He spared himself in no wise 
Amidst the fray of spear-maids. 

Eric's sons saw their men falling on all sides 
for all they could do, and so they turned and fled 
away to their ships ; but they who had fled afore to 
the shijjs had thrust out from the shore, and some 
ships were yet left high and dry by the ebb. Then 
Eric's sons leapt into the sea, and swam with 
such folk as was with thein. There fell Gamli 
Ericson, but the other brethren gat to the ships, 
and went their ways with such of their folk as was 
left, and so sailed south to Denmark, and tarried 
there a while, and were full evil content with their 

i8o The Saga Library. XXVII-VIII 


SO King Hakon let take all the ships of 
Eric's sons which had been beached, and 
let draw them up aland. There King 
Hakon let lay Egil Woolsark in a ship, and all 
those of his folk with him who were fallen, and let 
heap over them stones and earth. Then King 
Hakon let set up yet more ships, and bear them 
to the field of battle ; and one may see the mounds 
to-day south of Fraedisberg. 

Eyvind Skald-spiller made this stave whenas 
Glum Geirason boasted in his song over the fall 
of King Hakon : 

The flight-shy king aforetime 
Hath reddened Fenrir's jaw-gag 
In Gamli's blood ; there waxed 
The hearts of the trees of steel-storm, 
When seaward the unslumbering 
Drave down the heirs of Eric. 
Great grief on all spear-warders 
For the king's fall lieth heavy. 

High standing-stones there are by the howe of 
Egil Woolsark. 


WHEN King Hakon, Athelstane's foster- 
son, had been king in Norway six and 
twenty winters since his brother Eric 
fled the land, it befell that he was abiding in 

XXVIII The Story ofHakon the Good. 1 8 1 

Hordland, and took guesting in Stord at Fitiar, 
and there had he his court and many bonders as 
guests. Now whenas the king sat a-breakfasting, 
the warders who were without saw a many ships 
saihng from the south, and come no long way 
from the island. Then spake one to other that 
the king should be told, how they deemed that 
war was coming on them ; but it seemed easy to 
none to tell the king tidings of war, for he had 
laid heavy penalty on whoso should so do lightly. 
Yet deemed they it was in no wise to be done that 
the king should know not thereof; so one of them 
went into the hall, and bade Eyvind Finnson come 
out quickly with him, saying that there was the 
greatest need thereof So Eyvind went out, and as 
soon as he came whence he might see the ships, 
forthwithal he saw that there was a great host a- 
coming. So he went straightly back into the 
hall and before the king, and spake: " In a little 
while the hour doth fleet, and a long space here sit 
men at meat." 

The king looked on him and said : " What is 
toward ? " 

Eyvind sang : 

Avengers now of Blood-axe, 
Keen in the play of sheath-staff, 
Men say crave byrny-meeting. 
Scant cause have we to tarry. 
A trouble-bringing telling 
To tell our lord of battle ! 
But well I willed thy glory. 
Swift don we the old weapons. 

The king said : " Thou art too good a man, 

1 82 The Saga Library. XXVIII 

Eyvfnd, to tell me tidings of war but they be sooth." 
Then said many that sooth the tale was. So 
the king let take away the board, and he went out 
and beheld the ships, and saw that they were war- 
ships. Then the king asked his men what rede 
to take, whether they should fight with such folk 
as they had, or go to their ships and sail away 
north. " It is well seen," says he, " that we shall 
now have to fiofht with an host outnumbering us far 
more than we had to do with aforetime, though for- 
sooth we have oft deemed that we dealt few against 
many when we fought with the sons of Gunnhild." 
Men were not swift to answer hereto, till Eyvind 
Finnson answered and sang : 

Niord of the shaft-rain, nowise 
The bold thane it beseemeth 
North on to urge the sea-steed. 
All dallying be accursed ! 
Lo, now a fleet wide-spreading 
From south-away drives Harald 
On Rakni's roaring highway. 
Now grip in gripe the war-board ! 

The king answers : " Manfully is it spoken, 
Eyvind, and after mine own heart ; yet will I 
hearken the mind of more men about this matter." 
But when men thought they wotted what the 
king would have, then many said that they had 
liefer fall with manhood, than flee before Danes 
without trying it ; saying that oft had they gotten 
the v'ctory when they had been the fewer folk in the 
fight. The king thanked them well for their words, 
and bade them arm ; and men did so. The king did 
a byrny on him, and girt himself with the sword 

XXIX The Story of Hakou the Good. 183 

Ouern-biter, set a forgilded helm on his head, and 
took a glaive in his hand, and had his shield by 
his side. Then he ordered his body-guard in one 
battle and the bonders with them, and set up his 


NOW King Harald Ericson was lord over 
the brethren after the fall of Gamli. The 
brethren had there a great host from out of 
Denmark ; and there were in their company their 
mother's brethren, Eyvind Braggart and Alf Ash- 
man, both strong men and stout, and the greatest 
of man-slayers. Eric's sons laid their ships by 
the island and went aland and arrayed their men; 
and so it is said that so great were the odds that 
the sons of Eric must have been six to one. 


NOW King Hakon arrayed his folk; and 
as men say he cast his byrny from him 
or ever the battle was joined. So sayeth 
Eyvind Skald-spiller in the Hakon's-song : 

There found they Biorn's brother 

A-donning his byrny, 

The king the most goodly 

Come neath the war-banner. 

The foemen were drooping, 

Shaken the shafts were, 

When uphove the brunt of the battle. 

184 TJte Saga Library. XXX 

The Halogaland folk, 
The Hohnroga people, 
The earls' bane was cheering 
As he wended to battle. 
Good gathering of Northmen 
The noble one mustered ; 
Neath bright-shining helm 
Stood the dread of the Isle-Danes. 

War-weed he did off him, 
On field cast his byrny, 
The war-warders' leader, 
Ere the fight had beginning. 
There he played with the people 
The land's peace a-winning, 
The king merry-hearted 
Neath gold helm a-standing. 

King Hakon chose men diligently for his court 
for their might's sake and stoutness, even as King 
Harald his father had done. There was Thoralf 
Skolmson the Strong going on one hand of the 
king, dight with helm and shield, glaive and sword, 
which same was called Foot-broad ; and, as folk 
said, he and Hakon were of Hke strength. Hereof 
telleth Thord Siarekson in the drapa he made 
about Thoralf: 

The host went fain to the sword-clash, 

There where the battle-hardy 

Urgers of steed of land's belt 

Fought on in Stord at Fitiar. 

He, flinger of the glitter 

In she-giant's drift on lee-moon 

Of sea-stead, dared the nighest 

To the Northmen's king to wend there. 

So when the battle was joined was the fight wild 
and slaughterous; and when men had shot their 

XXXI The Story of Hakon the Good. 185 

spears, they drew their swords. And King Hakon 
went forth before the banner and Thoralf with 
him, and smote on either hand. So sayeth Eyvind 
the Skald-spiller : 

So bit the sword 
In the king's hand swayed 
Through Vafad's weed 
As through the water. 
Crashed there the sword-points, 
Shivered the shields there, 
Rattled the axe-clash 
On skulls of the people. 

Trodden were targes 
And skulls of the Northmen 
Before the hard feet 
Of the hilt of the Ring-Tyr, 
AVar rose in the island 
Where the kings reddened 
The shield-bright burgs 
In blood of warriors. 


KING HAKON was easy to know above 
other men, for his hehn flashed again 
when the sun shone on it; so, great brunt 
of weapons was about him. Then took Eyvind 
Finnson a hat and did it over the king's helm. 
But forthright Eyvind Braggart cried out on high : 
" Doth now the king of the Northmen hide ? or is 
he fled away ? where is gotten the golden helm ? " 
Forth then went Eyvind and Alf his brother 
with him, smiting on either hand, and making 
as they were mad or raging. But King Hakon 

1 86 The Saga Library. XXXI 

cried on high to Eyvind : " Keep thou the 
road wherein thou art, if thou wouldst find the 
king of the Northmen." 

So sayeth Eyvind Skald-spiller : 

Man's friend to gold unfriendly, 

The speeder of the tempest 

Of slaughter-hurdles' Gefn, 

Bade Braggart nowise turn him. 

If thou for victory yearning 

Wouldst find the deft crafts-master 

Of Odin's brunt, hold hither ! 

To the king of the doughty Northmen. 

But little was the while to bide ere thither came 
Eyvind and hove up sword and smote on the king ; 
but Thoralf thrust forth his shield against him, so 
that Eyvind staggered; and the king took his sword 
Ouern-biter in both hands, and smote down on Ey- 
vind's helm, and clove helm and head down to the 
shoulders. Therewith Thoralf slew Alf Ashman. 

So sayeth Eyvind Skald-spiller : 

I wot that in both hands brandished 
Sharp bit King Hakon's wound-wand 
On him, the middling doughty 
Dweller in hulk sea-gliding. 
The fearless one that eketh 
The squall of the boar of AH, 
The Dane's hurt, clave the hair-mounds 
With war-brand golden-hilted. 

After the fall of those brethren. King Hakon 
went forth so hard, that all folk shrank aback 
before him ; and anon therewith fell terror and 
fleeing among the folk of Eric's sons. But King 
Hakon was in the vanward of his array, and 

XXXI The Story of Hakon the Good. 187 

followed fast on the fleers, and smote oft and 
hard. Then flew forth a shaft, such as is cafled a 
dart, and smote King Hakon on the arm up in 
the muscle below the shoulder. And the talk of 
many men it is, that a foot-page of Gunnhild, one 
named Kisping, ran forth into the press crying 
out : " Give room to the king's-bane ! " and so shot 
the arrow at King Hakon. Yet some say that 
none knoweth who shot ; as may well be, because 
arrows and spears, and all kind of shot were flying 
as thick as the snow drifts. 

Many men fell of the folk of Eric's sons, both 
on the field of battle, and on the way to the ships, 
yea, and on the very beach ; and many leapt into 
the deep sea. Many there were who came aboard 
the ships, amongst whom were all Eric's sons, and 
they rowed away forthwith, yet followed of King 
Hakon's men. 

So sayeth Thord Siarekson : 

Wolves' slayer wards the coast-folk : 

Thus duly peace is broken. 

That king all men were wishing 

At home to grow eld-hoary. 

But toil forsooth hove upward 

When Gunnhild's heir from the Southland, 

The gold's well-wonted scarer. 

Fled, and the king was fallen. 

Now fainting was and fleeing, 
When no few wounded bonders 
Sat by the strong-rowed gunwale. 
And a man and another perished. 
Sure this to prowess pointeth, 
When the all-rich Niord of Gondul 
Who giveth drink to Hugin, 
Went next the king in battle. 

1 88 The Saga Library. XXXII 


KING HAKON went forth unto his ship, 
and let bind his hurt ; but so fast the 
blood ran from it that it might not be 
staunched ; and as day wore the king's might 
waned. Then he tells his men that he would fare 
north to his house at Alrek-stead ; but when they 
came to Hakon's crag they brought-to there, for 
the king was nigh departing. Then he calls his 
friends to him, and tells them how he will have 
his realm ordered. He had one child, a daughter 
named Thora, but no son ; so he bade send word 
to the sons of Eric, saying that they shall be kings 
in the land, but bidding them hold his kin and 
friends in honour. 

" For," said he, " though life be fated me, yet 
will I get me from the land unto Christian men, 
and atone for what I have misdone against God. 
Yet if I die here amongst the heathen, then give 
me grave such as seemeth good to you." 

A little thereafter King Hakon gave up the ghost, 
there on the very rock whereas he had been born. 

So was King Hakon sorrowed for, that both 
friends and foes wept his death, and said that never 
again would so good a king come to Norway. 
His friends brought his body north to Seaham in 
North Hordland, and raised there a great howe, 
and laid the king therein, all armed with the best 
of his array, but set no wealth therein beside. 
Such words they spake over his grave as heathen 
men had custom, wishing him welfare to Valhall. 

XXXII The Story of Hakon the Good. 189 

Eyvind Skald-spiller did a song on the fall of 
King Hakon, and of how he was welcomed to 
Valhall. It is called Hakon's Song, and this is the 
beginning thereof : 

Gondul and Skogul 

Sent forth the Goth-god 

From the king-folk to choose him 

What kindred of Yngvi 

Should fare unto Odin 

For Valhall's abiding. 

There found they Biorn's brother 

A-donning his byrny. 

The king the most goodly 

Come neath the war-banner. 

The foemen were drooping. 

Shaken the shafts were, 

When uphove the brunt of the battle. 

The Halogaland folk, 

The Holmroga people. 

The earls' bane was cheering 

As he wended to battle. 

Good gathering of Northmen 

The noble one mustered ; 

Neath brig-ht-shininof helm 

Stood the dread of the Isle- Danes. 

War-weed he did off him, 
On field cast his byrny 
The war-warders' leader, 
Ere the fisrht had beafinnine. 
There he played with the people 
The land's peace a-winning. 

1 90 The Saga L ibravy. XXXII 

The kinor merry-hearted 
Neath gold helm a-standing. 

So bit the sword 
In the king's hand swayed 
Through Vafad's weed 
As through the water. 
Crashed there the sword-points, 
Shivered the shields there, 
Rattled the axe-clash 
On skulls of the people. 

Trodden were targes 
And skulls of the Northmen 
Before the hard feet 
Of the hilt of the Ring-Tyr ; 
War rose in the island 
Where the kings reddened 
The shield-bright burgs 
In blood of warriors. 

Burnt there wound-fires 
Amid the wounds bloody ; 
There were the long swords 
At men's lives a-lowting. 
Hish swelled the wound-sea 
About the swords' nesses; 
The flood of spears fell 
On the foreshore of Stord. 

Blended were they 
Neath the red shield's heaven ; 
Neath Skogul's cloud-storm 
For rings they strove there, 

XXXII The Story of Hakon the Good. 1 9 1 

Roared the spear-waves 
In Odin's weather; 
Fell many a man 
Before the sword-stream. 

There sat the lords 
With swords all naked, 
With sharded shields, 
And shot-pierced byrnies. 
This was the host 
With hearts down-fallen 
Who had to wend 
Their ways to Valhall. 

So Gondul spake, 

On spear-shaft steadied : 

" Great now the gods' folk groweth. 
Whereas Hakon the high 
And a mighty host 

They bid to their home, to abide." 

That heard the king 
What the Valkyrs spake, 

The glorious ones from a-horseback. 
Wise ways they had 
As helmed they sat there, 

And hove up shield before them. 

Spake Hakon : 
" Why sharest thou war's lot 
In such wise, Geir-skogul ? 
Worthy we were of the gain of the gods." 

192 The Saga Library. XXXII 

Spake Skogul : 
" Yea, and have we not wrought 
That the field thou hast held, 

And fled are thy foemen away ? " 

" Come ride we away then," 
Quoth the rich Skogul, 

" To the green homes of god-folk. 
Come tell we to Odin 
How a great king is coming 

To gaze on his godhead itself." 

Spake out the high god : 
" Ye, Hermod and Bragi, 

Go forth now the mighty to meet ; 
For this is a king, 
And a champion far-famed, 

Who fareth his way to our hall." 

Spake now the king 
From the battle-roar come. 

And he stood with blood bedrifted : 
" Odin, meseems, 
Looketh awfully on us ; 

Grim of heart we behold him to-day." 

" Nay, the peace of all heroes 
Here hast thou gotten. 

Come, drink of the ale of the ^Esir ! 
O foe of the Earl-folk, 
Herein shalt thou find 

Eight brethren of thine," quoth Bragi. 

XXXII The story of Hakon the Good. 193 

The good king spake : 
" Our own, our wargear 

Here will we have as of old. 
Helm and byrny 
Are good for heeding ; 

Full seemly to handle the spear." 

Now was it wotted 
How well the king 

Had upheld holy places, 
Whereas all powers 
And all the god-folk 

Bade Hakon welcome home. 

On a goodly day 
Were a great one born 

To get him such good will, 
And the days of his life 
Shall be told of for good 

For ever and evermore. 

Till free, unbound, 
Mid folk of men 

The Fenrir's wolf shall fare, 
No one so good 
To his empty path 

Of the kingly folk shall come. 

Now dieth wealth, 
Die friends and kin, 

And lea and land lie waste. 
Since Hakon fared 
To the heathen gods 

Are a many folk enthralled. 
III. o 









SO Eric's sons took to them the kingdom of 
Norway after that King Hakon was fallen. 
Harald was the most accounted of amongst 
those brethren, and the eldest of them yet ahve. 
Gunnhild, their mother, had much to do with the 
ruling of the land along with them, and she was 
called the Kings' Mother. These were lords in 
the land in those days : to wit, Tryggvi Olafson, 
in the East-country ; Gudrod Biornson in West- 
fold ; and Sigurd the Earl of Ladir in Thrand- 
heim. But Gunnhild's sons held but the mid land 
the first winter. Then went word betwixt Gunn- 
hild's sons and Tryggvi and Gudrod, and all that 
was said went toward peace, to wit, that they 
should hold such like share of the realm of 
Gunnhild's sons as they had aforetime held of 
Kinof Hakon. 

198 The Saga Library. I 

There was one named Glum Geirason, the skald 
of King Harald, and a man of great daring, and 
he made this song on the fall of King Hakon : 

Good vengeance then gat Harald 
For Gamli. But sword-bearers 
Lost life whenas the fight-strong 
War-leader fame was winning. 
When Battle-god's black falcons 
Drank of the blood of Hakon, 
I heard how the ruddy wound-reed 
Beyond the sea was reddened. 

Right dear was this song deemed ; but when 
Eyvind Finnson heard thereof, he made this song, 
which is aforewrit : 

The flight-shy king aforetime 
Hath reddened Fenrir's jaw-gag 
In Gamli's blood ; there waxed 
The hearts of the trees of steel-storm, 
When seaward the unslumbering 
Drave down the heirs of Eric. 
Great grief on all spear-warders 
For the king's fall lieth heavy. 

And this stave also was given forth far and 
wide. But when King Harald heard thereof, he 
laid a death-guilt on Eyvind, till at last their 
friends brought peace about between them, so that 
Eyvind should become King Harald's skald, even 
as erst he had been the skald of King Hakon. 
They were nigh akin, for Gunnhild, the mother of 
Eyvind, was the daughter of Earl Halfdan. But 
her mother was Ingibiorg, daughter of King 
Harald Hairfair. 

So Eyvind made this stave on King Harald : 

I The story of Harald Grey cloak. 199 

Herd's land-ward, little say they 
Thou lettedst thine heart falter 
When burst wound's hail on byrnies 
And bows were bent against thee, 
That tide the full-edged sheath-ice 
Naked screamed out in battle, 
In hands of thine, O Harald, 
For the hungry wolf's fulfilling. 

The sons of Gunnhild abode mostly In the mid 
land ; for they trusted not to abide under the hands 
either of the Thrandheim men, or of those of the 
Wick, who had been the greatest friends of King 
Hakon, and withal there were many great men in 
either country. 

But now men went about to make peace be- 
tween Gunnhild's sons and Earl Sigurd, for 
hitherto had they gotten no dues from Thrand- 
heim ; and so at last they made peace between 
them, the kings and the earl, and bound the same 
with oaths. Earl Sigurd was to have such do- 
minion in Thrandheim from them as he had had 
aforetime from King Hakon. And so they were 
at peace in words at least. 

All Gunnhild's sons were called miserly, and it 
was said of them that they buried treasure in the 
earth ; whereof made Eyvind Skald-spiller a 
stave : 

Uller of leek of battle, 
Through all the life of Hakon, 
The seed of Fyri's meadows 
On the falcon-fells we carried. 
But now the folk's foe hideth 
The meal of the woeful maidens 
Of Prodi, in the fair flesh 
Of the troll-wives' foeman's mother. 

200 The Saga Library. I 

And this : 

The coif-sun of the brow-fields 

Of Fulla shone on the mountains 

Of UUer's keel for skald-folk 

All through the life of Hakon. 

Now the sun of the deep river 

In the mother's corpse is hidden 

Of the giants' foe — so mighty 

Are the spells of the folk strong-hearted. 

But when King Harald heard of these staves 
he sent word to Eyvind to come to him. But 
when Eyvind came before him, the king laid guilt 
on him and called him his foe. " And it befitteth 
thee ill," said he, " to be untrusty to me, whereas 
thou hast now become my man." 

Then sang Eyvind a stave : 

Dear king, I had one master 
Or ever thee I gat me ; 
I pray for me no third one. 
For eld, lord, 'gainst me beateth. 
True to the dear king was I, 
With two shields played I never ; 
O king, of thy flock am I, 
Now on my hands eld falleth. 

King Harald made Eyvind handsel him self- 
doom in the case. Now Eyvind had a gold ring 
great and goodly, which was called Mouldy, and 
had long agone been taken from out the earth. 
This ring the king saith he will have, and there 
was nought else for it. 

Then sang Eyvind : 

Surely from henceforth should I, 
Speeder of skates of isle-mead. 

II The story of Harald Greycloak. 201 

Find setting fair to me-ward 
Thy breeze of giant-maidens. 
Since now we needs must hand thee, 
Chooser of hawk-land's jewels, 
That very lair of the ling-worm 
Which long time was my father's. 

Therewith fared Eyvind home, nor is it told 
that he ever met King Harald again. 


GUNNHILD'S sons had been christened 
in England, as is aforewrit ; but when 
they came to the ruling of Norway they 
might nowise bringf about the christeninsf of men 
in the land. But whensoever they might compass 
it, they brake down temples and undid the feasts 
of offerings, and gat great hatred thereby. Early 
in their days came to nought the plenteous 
seasons ; for many kings there were, and each with 
his court about him ; and much they needed, and 
at great cost, and withal they were most greedy of 
wealth. Neither held they the laws that King 
Hakon had set up, save when it pleased them. 

They were all the goodliest of men, strong and 
big, and great of prowess. So sayeth Glum 
Geirason in that drapa which he made on Harald 
Gunnhildson : 

The terror-staff of the jaw-teeth 
Of Heimdall, he that ofttimes 
Pressed on in fight, was master 
Of twelve-fold kingly prowess. 

202 The Saga Library. Ill 

Oft those brethren went about all together, but 
whiles each by himself. They were men hard- 
hearted and bold, great warriors and right happy 
in battle. 


GUNNHILD, the Kings' Mother, and her 
sons would oft be meeting for talk and 
counsel, and turned over the matters of 
the land thereby. And on a time Gunnhild asked 
of her sons, " What way are ye minded to let things 
fare in the matter of the dominion of Thrandheim ? 
Ye bear the name of kings, indeed, as your fathers 
did before you ; but little have ye of land or folk, 
and yet are ye many to share. East in the Wick 
Tryggvi and Gudrod bear rule, but they indeed 
may have some claim thereto, seeing of what kin 
they be ; but Earl Sigurd rules alone over all 
Thrandheim, nor wot I how this may be meet, to 
suffer but a very earl to take so great dominion 
from under you ; and marvellous meseemeth, that 
year by year ye go a-warring in other lands, while 
ye let an earl of your own country take from you 
the heritage of your fathers. A little matter had it 
seemed to King Harald, thy namesake, thy father's 
father, to take from one earl life and land, when 
he won all Norway and held it unto eld." 

Harald answers : "It is nought so easy, " says 
he, "to end the days of Earl Sigurd's life, as 
it is to cut the throat of a kid or a calf. Earl 
Sigurd is of high blood, and hath much kin, and 

IV TJie Story of Harald Greycloak. 203 

is well-beloved and wise. We may wot well that if 
he know surely that he may look for enmity at our 
hands, all the Thrandheimers will be as one man 
with him ; and then we have no errand thither 
but an ill one. Withal meseemeth none of us 
brethren deems it safe to abide under the hand of 
the Thrandheimers." Then spake Gunnhild : 
" Fare our redes then by clean another way, and 
let us betake us to a lesser business. Ye, Harald 
and Erling, shall abide this autumn in North- 
mere, and I also may fare with you ; and then shall 
we try all together what may be done." 
So in this wise did they. 


THE brother of Earl Sigurd was called 
Griotgard. He was far the youngest, and 
the least accounted of withal ; no title of 
honour had he, but kept a company of men about 
him, and went a-warring in the summer-tide and so 
gat him wealth. 

Now King Harald sent men into Thrandheim 
to Earl Sigurd with friendly gifts and friendly 
words, and the messengers said that King Harald 
would strike up such friendship with the earl as 
had been aforetime betwixt him and King Hakon ; 
and therewith bidding the earl come see King 
Harald that they might bind their friendship 
fast and fully. Earl Sigurd received well the 
king's messengers and the king's friendship, but 

204 ^/^^ Saga Library . IV 

said that he might not go see him because of 
his much business ; but he sent the king friendly 
gifts and good words and kindness in return for 
his friendship. So fared away the messengers, 
and fared to find Griotgard, and bare him the 
same errand, the friendship of King Harald to 
wit, and the bidding to his house, and goodly gifts 
withal ; and by then the messengers departed for 
home, Griotgard had promised to go. And so 
on a day appointed came Griotgard to meet 
King Harald and Gunnhild, and a right blithe 
welcome he had of them. There was he holden 
in the greatest well-liking, and was with them 
in the closest talk and many hidden matters ; 
till it came to this, that the matter of Earl 
Sigurd came uppermost, even as was afore agreed 
betwixt the king and the queen. Then they 
showed forth to Griotgard, how Earl Sigurd had 
long held him of small account ; and if he would 
be with them in this rede, then says the king that 
Griotsfard should be his earl, and have all the 
dominion which Earl Sigurd had had heretofore. 
So it came about that they agreed to this with 
solemn words, that Griotgard should spy out a 
likely time for falling on Earl Sigurd, and send 
word to King Harald thereof So Griotgard 
fared home with so much done, and had good 
gifts of the king. 

V-VI The story of HaraldGreycloak. 205 


EARL SIGURD fared in autumn-tide in to 
Stiordale, and abode there a-guesting. 
Thence he fared out to Oglo, there to 
guest. Now ever would the earl have many men 
with him, for he trusted the kings but little ; yet 
now, whereas such friendly words had passed be- 
twixt him and Kinor Harald, he had no ereat 
company of men. So now Griotgard did King 
Harald to wit, that there would be no hopefuller 
time to fall on Earl Sigurd. So the self-same night 
the kings, Harald and Erling, went up the Thrand- 
heim-firth with four ships and a great company, 
and sailed in by night and starlight. Then came 
Griotgard and met them ; and when the night 
was far spent, they came to Oglo, whereas Earl 
Sigurd was a-guesting. There they set fire to the 
house, and burned the stead and the earl therein, 
and all his folk with him. So then early in the 
morning they went their ways down the firth and 
so south to Mere, and dwelt there a lone while. 


HAKON, the son of Earl Sigurd, was up 
in Thrandheim when he heard of these 
tidings. Then was there forthright great 
running to arms throughout all Thrandheim, and 
every keel that was anywise meet for war was 
thrust into the sea; and when the host came 

2o6 The Saga Library. VI 

together they took for earl and captain of their 
host Hakon, son of Earl Sigurd, and therewith 
the host put out down the Thrandheim-firth. But 
when the sons of Gunnhild knew thereof they 
fared south to Raumsdale and South-mere ; and 
either side kept watch on the other. 

Earl Sigurd was slain two winters after the fall 
of King Hakon. 

Eyvind Skald-spillersays thus inthe Haloga-tale : 

And Sigurd, he 
The swans that feedeth 
Of the Burden-Tyr 
With the rooks' beer 
From Hadding's chosen, 
The land's wielders 
Left life-bereft 
Down there at Oglo. 

There then the giver 
Of the arm's gold-worm, 
Who nourished never 
Fear of the fish-land. 
Laid his life down, 
Whenas the land's lords 
In trust betrayed 
Tyr's very kindred. 

Earl Hakon held Thrandheim with the might 
of his kin to help him for three winters, so that 
the sons of Gunnhild gat no dues from Thrand- 
heim. Hakon had many battles with Gunnhild's 
sons, and each slew many men for the other. 
Hereof telleth Einar Jingle-scale in the Gold-lack, 
which he made about Earl Hakon : 

The troth-fast spear-point dealer, 
Wide sea-host out he drew there, 

VI The Story of Ha raid Grey cloak. 207 

The merry king laid sleeping 

All sloth in storms of Gondul. 

The trier of the red moon 

That is of Odin's elbow, 

Eager uphove the fight-sail 

Yox the kings' fight-mood's allaying. 

And again he saith : 

The gladdener of the swan-fowl 
Of the heavy sword-stream nowise 
Had any wite laid on him 
For the shaft-storm of the spear-wife. 
Stoutly the lord of fight-crash 
Shook from Hlokk's sail the bow-hail, 
And he of the sword unsparing 
Goodly the wolves' life nourished. 

Full many a storm of Ali 

Most mighty was befalling 

Ere the deft grove of the shield-leek 

Took the Eastland at the gods' will. 

And moreover Einar telleth how Earl Hakon 
avenged his father : 

Loud praise I bear forth herewith 
For that vengeance for his father 
Which the warder of waves' raven 
^Vreaked with the sword of battle. 

Mail-rain of the sword-storm's urger 
Rained wide on the life of hersirs, 
And he, for battle minded, 
Gave many a thane to Odin. 
The Vidur of gale of sea-steads 
Let wax the life-cold sword-storm 
'Gainst the shelter of the warriors 
That raise the High-one's tempest. 

After these things the friends of either side went 
between them with words of peace ; for the bonders 

2o8 The Saga Library. VII 

were weary of war and unrest in the very land. 
And so it was brought by the redes of wise men, 
that peace was made between them, and Hakon 
was to have such dominion in Thrandheim as 
Earl Sigurd his father had had, but the kings the 
dominion therein that King Hakon had had before 
them ; and this was bound with full oath and troth. 
And now befell great love betwixt Earl Hakon 
and Gunnhild, though now and again they baited 
each other with guile. And so time wore for 
other three winters, and Hakon abode in peace in 
his dominion. 


KING HARALD abode oftenest in Hord- 
land and Rogaland, and yet more of the 
brethren also ; and oft was their dwelling 
at Hardang. Now on a certain summer came a 
ship of burden from Iceland and owned of Ice- 
landers, and laden with grey cloaks. They brought 
the ship up to Hardang, because they had heard 
tliat there already was the greatest concourse of 
men ; but when men came to deal with them they 
would not buy their grey cloaks. So went the 
skipper to King Harald, for he had known him to 
speak to aforetime, and told him of his trouble. The 
king said he would come to them, and did so. King 
Harald was a kindly-mannered man and a merry- 
hearted. He was come there in a cutter all manned; 
he looked on their lading, and spake to the skipper: 
" Wilt thou give me one of thy grey cloaks ? " 
"With a good will would I," said the skipper, 

VIII The Story of Harald Grey cloak. 209 

" yea, and even more." Then the king took a grey 
cloak, and cloaked him therewith, and so went 
down into the barge ; and before they rowed away 
every one of his men had bought a cloak. More- 
over, a few days thereafter came thither so many 
men every one of them wanting to buy a grey 
cloak, that not the half of them that wanted them 
could get them. 

So ever after was the king called Harald Grey- 


EARL HAKON fared on a winter to the 
Uplands to a feast, and there, as it happed, 
he lay with a certain woman, and she lowly 
of kin ; and as time wore the woman went with child, 
and when it was born it was a man-child ; so it was 
sprinkled with water and called Eric. The mother 
brought the lad to Earl Hakon, and said that he 
was the father thereof; so the earl let the lad be 
nourished at the house of one called Thorleif the 
Sage. He dwelt up in Middledale, and was a wise 
man and a wealthy, and a great friend of the earl's. 
Eric speedily waxed hopeful ; he was of the fairest 
aspect, and great and strong from his earliest days. 
The earl had but little to say to him. Earl Hakon 
was the goodliest to look on of all men, not high 
of stature, yet strong enow, and well skilled in 
all prowess, wise of wit, and the greatest of warriors. 


2IO The Saga Library. IX 


ON a certain autumn Earl Hakon fared to 
the Uplands, and when he came on to 
Heathmark there came to meet him King 
Tryggvi Olafson and King Gudrod Biornson, and 
thither also came Gudbrand a-Dale. These held 
counsel together, and sat long in privy talk, whereof 
this came uppermost, that each should be friend of 
the other ; and therewith they parted and went 
home each to his own realm. Now Gunnhild and 
her sons hear hereof, and misdoubt them of it, that 
they have been plotting against the kings ; so often 
they talk hereof together. But in spring-tide King 
Harald and King Gudrod his brother give out that 
they will be a-faring a war-voyage in the summer 
West-over-the-sea, or into the East-countries, as 
their wont was. So they gather their folk together 
and thrust their ships into the water and array them 
for departure ; but when they drank their ale of 
departure, great drinking there was, and a many 
things spoken over the drink ; and so they gat to 
the sport of likening man to man, and the talk fell on 
the kings themselves. Then spake a man, saying 
that King Harald was the foremost of those 
brethren in all matters. Then waxed King Gudrod 
very wroth, and says so much as that he will be 
none the worse in any wise than King Harald, 
and that he is ready to prove the same. Then 
speedily were they full wroth either of them, so 
that either bade other come and fight, and ran to 
their weapons withal. But they who had their 

X The Story of Ilarald Grey cloak. 2 1 1 

wits about them, and were the less drunken, stayed 
them and ran betwixt. So they went both to their 
ships, but it was no longer to be looked for that 
they should sail together. Gudrod sailed east 
along the land, and Harald made out into the 
main, saying that he would sail VVest-over-the-sea ; 
but when he was gotten without the isles, he turned 
and sailed cast along the land, keeping out to sea. 
King Gudrod sailed by the common course cast- 
away to the Wick, and so east across the Fold. 
Thence he sent word to King Tryggvi to come 
and meet him, and they would go both together 
that summer a-warring in the Eastlands. King 
Tryggvi took the message well and hopefully. He 
had heard that King Gudrod had but few folk ; so 
he went to meet him with but one cutter, and they 
met at the Walls, east of Sotaness. But when they 
came to the council, King Gudrod's men leapt 
forth and slew King Tryggvi and twelve men 
with him ; and he lieth at the place which is now 
called Tryggvi's Cairn. 


NOW King Harald sailed far out to sea, 
and he made in for the Wick, and came 
a-night-time to Tunsberg. There heard 
he that King Gudrod was a-guesting a little way 
up the country. So King Harald and his folk 
went thither, and came there a-night-time, and 
took the house over their heads. King Gud- 
rod came forth, he and his ; but short was the 

212 The Saga Library. XI 

stour or e\-er Kinj^ Gudrod fell, and many men 
with him. Then King Harald fared away to find 
King Gudrod his brother, and they twain laid all 
the Wick under them. 


wedded well and meetly, and had a son 
by his wife called Harald ; he was sent into 
Grenland to Roi the White, a lord of the land, to 
be fostered there. The son of Roi was Rani the 
Wide-faring, and Harald and he were foster-breth- 
ren and much of an age. After the fall of Gudrod 
his father, Harald, who was called the Gren- 
lander, fled away to the Uplands with Rani his 
foster-brother and but few other men, and Harald 
tarried awhile with his kin. Now Eric's sons pried 
closely into all such as had enmity against them, and 
on those the most whom they deemed like to rise 
up against them. Harald's kindred gave him the 
rede that he should depart from the land; so 
Harald the Grenlander fared east to Sweden, and 
sought for himself a crew, so that he might fall 
into company with such men as went a-warring to 
ofather wealth ; and Harald was the doughtiest of 
men. There was one Tosti in Sweden, the mightiest 
and noblest of all men of that land who lacked title 
of dignity ; he was the greatest of warriors, and was 
for the most part a-warring, and he was called 
Skogul-Tosti. Into his fellowship Harald the 
Grenlander betook himself, and was with Skogul- 

XII The story of Harald Greycloak. 21^ 

Tosti a-warring in the summer, and every man 
deemed well of Harald, and Harald abode behind 
with Tosti through the winter. Si^rrid was the 
name of Tosti's daughter ; young and fair she was, 
and exceeding high-minded. She was afterward 
wedded to Eric the Victorious, the Swede-king, 
and their son was Olaf the Swede, who was king 
in Sweden in after-times. King Eric died of sick- 
ness at Upsala ten winters after Styrbiorn fell. 


THE sons of Gunnhild drew a great host 
out of the Wick, and so fare north along 
the land, gathering ships and folk from 
every country ; and they lay it bare that they 
are bringing that same host north to Thrandheim 
against Earl Hakon. 

Thereof heareth the earl, and gathereth folk 
and goeth a-shipboard ; but when he heard of the 
host of Gunnhild's sons how many they were, he 
led his folk south to Mere, and harried whereso 
he came, and slew much folk. Then he sent back 
the host of Thrandheim and the whole crowd of 
the bonders, but himself fared a-warring all about 
either Mere and Raumsdale, and had spies abroad 
south of the Stad on the host of Gunnhild's sons. 
But when he heard that they were come into the 
Firths, and abode a wind there to sail north about 
the Stad, then sailed Earl Hakon south of the 
Stad, but out to sea, so that none might behold 
his sails from the land. Then he held his course 

2 1 4 The Saga L ibniry. XIII 

by the open sea east along the land till he came 
ricfht on to Denmark ; thence he sailed for the 
Eastlands, and harried there the summer long. 

The sons of Gunnhild led their host north into 
Thrandheim, and abode there a long while through 
the summer, and took all scat and dues there ; 
but when summer Avas far spent, Sigurd Slaver 
and Gudrod abode behind there, and King Harald 
and the other brethren went into the East-country 
with the host that had gone with them in the 
summer season. 


EARL HAKON fared in autumn-tide 
to Helsingland, and laid up his ships 
there, and then fared by land through 
Helsingland and Jamtland, and so west over the 
Keel down into Thrandheim. Much folk drew 
unto him, and he gat a-shipboard. But when 
Gunnhild's sons hear thereof they get aboard their 
ships and make down the firth ; but Earl Hakon 
goeth to Ladir, and abode there the winter, while 
Gunnhild's sons dwelt in Mere; and either made 
raids on the other, and slew men each of the other. 
Earl Hakon held dominion in Thrandheim, and 
was there oftest in winter-tide, but whiles in the 
summer he fared east into Helsingland, and took 
his ships there, and went into the Eastlands, and 
harried there in summer-tide. But whiles he abode 
in Thrandheim, and had his host out, and then Gunn- 
hild's sons might not hold them north of the Stad. 

XIV TJie Story of Havald Grey cloak. 2 1 5 


summer north to Biarmland, and harried 
there, and had a great battle with the 
folk of the land at Dvvina side. There had King 
Harald the victory, and slew much folk ; then he 
harried wide about in the land, and gat to him 
exceeding great wealth. Hereof telleth Glum 
Geirason : 

The word-strong king's oppressor 
Reddened the fire-brand east there, 
All northward of the township. 
Where saw I Biarm-folk running. 
Spear-gale the youthful Atheling 
Gat him on that same journey. 
Good word the men's appeaser 
Found on the side of Dwina. 

King Sigurd Slaver came to the house of Klypp 
the Hersir; he was the son of Thord, the son of 
Horda-Kari, and was a mighty man and of great 
kin. Now Klypp was not at home as then, but 
Alof his wife gave the king good welcome, and 
there was noble feast and great drinking. Alof 
was the daughter of Asbiorn, and the sister of 
Jarnskeggi from Yriar in the North-country. 
Hreidar, the brother of Asbiorn, was the father 
of Styrkar, the father of Eindrid, the father of 
Einar Thambarskelfir. 

Now the king went a-night-time to the bed of 
Alof, and lay with her against her will ; and there- 
after fared the king away. Thereafter in the 

2 1 6 The Saga Library . XV 

autumn-tide King Harald and Sigurd liis brother 
fared up to Vors, and there suinmoned the bonders 
to a Thing ; at which Thing the bonders fell on 
them to slay them, but they escaped and went 
their ways. King Harald went to Hardanger, but 
King Sigurd to Alrek-stead. But when Hersir 
Klypp heard thereof, he called together his kins- 
men to set on the king ; and the captain of the 
company was Vemund Knuckle-breaker. And so 
when they came to the house they fell on the 
king. And so tells the tale that Klypp thrust the 
king through with a sword, and slew him ; but 
forthright Erling the Old slew Klypp on the 


Gudrod his brother drew together a great 
host from out the East-country, and made 
for Thrandheini with that folk. But when Earl 
Hakon heard thereof he gathered folk to him, and 
made for Mere and harried there. There was 
Griotgard his father's brother, and was charged 
with the warding of the land for Gunnhild's sons ; 
he drew out folk even as the kings had sent him 
word. Earl Hakon went to meet him, and joined 
battle with him ; there fell Griotgard and two earls 
with him, and much other folk. Hereof telleth 
Einar Jingle-scale : 

The hardy king caused hchii-storm 
To fall upon his foemen. 

XVI The Story of Harald Grey cloak. 2 1 7 

Thereof were friends a-waxing 

In Loft's friend's hall of friendship. 

Three earls' sons fierce were fallen 

In fiery rain of Odin, 

Whereof the pride of the people 

Great praise and fame hath gotten. 

Thereafter Earl Hakon sailed out to sea, and so 
by the outer course south along the land. So came 
he south right on to Denmark to Kingr Harald 
Gormson the Dane-king ; there had he good wel- 
come, and abode with him the winter through. 

There also with the Dane-king was a man called 
Harald, who was son of Knut, the son of Gorm, 
and was the brother's son of King Harald. He 
was new-come from warring, wherein he had long 
been, and had gotten thereby very great wealth ; 
so he was called Gold Harald. He was deemed 
to have good right to be king in Denmark. 


those brethren brought their folk north 
to Thrandheim, and found nought to 
withstand them there ; so they took scat and dues, 
and all king's revenues, and made the bonders pay 
great fines, for the kings had now for a long while 
gotten but little money from Thrandheim, since 
Earl Hakon had abided there with many men, and 
had been at war with the kings. 

In the autumn King Harald went into the South- 
country with the more part of the folk that were 

2 1 8 The Saga Library. XVI I 

home-born there ; but King ErHng abode behind 
with his folk, and he had yet again plenteous goods 
of the bonders, and dealt them out hard measure. 
Thereof the bonders bemoaned them sore, and took 
their scathe ill. And so in the winter they gathered 
together and gat a great company, and went against 
King Erling as he was out a-guesting, and had 
battle with him. There fell King Erling, and a 
many men with him. 


IN the days when Gunnhild's sons ruled over 
Norway befell great scarcity, and ever the 
greater it grew the longer they ruled over 
the land ; and the bonders laid it to the account of 
the kings, whereas they were greedy of money, 
and dealt hardly with the bonders. To such a 
pitch it came at last, that all up and down the land 
folk well-nigh lacked all corn and fish. In Halo- 
galand was there such hunger and need, that well- 
nigh no corn grevv^ there, and the snow lay all over 
the land at midsummer, and all the live-stock was 
bound in stall at the very midsummer. Thus sang 
Eyvind Skald-spiller when he came forth from his 
house, and it was snowing hard : 

On Swolnir's dame it snoweth, 
And so have we as Finn-folk 
To bind the hind of birch-buds 
In byre amidst of summer. 

XVIII The story of HaraldGreydoak. 219 


EYVIND made a drapa on all the men of 
Iceland, and they gave him this reward, 
I that each bonder gave him a scat-penny 
of the weight of three silver pennies, and which 
would cut white. But when this silver came forth 
at the Althing, men took counsel to get smiths to 
refine the silver ; and thereafter was a cloak-clasp 
made thereof, and, the smithying being paid for, 
the clasp was worth fifty marks, and this they sent 
to Eyvind. But now Eyvind let shear the clasp 
asunder, and bought him stuff therewith. That 
same spring withal came a shoal of herring to 
certain outward-lying fishing-steads ; so Eyvind 
manned a row-boat of his with his house-carles 
and tenants, and rowed thither whereas the herring 
were being netted ; and he sang : 

Now did we set our sea-horse 
Be spurring from the northward 
After the terns fin-tailed, 
Foreboders of the long nets, 
To wot, O dear fire-goddess. 
If silver-weeds of the ice-fields, 
Through which the wave-swine rooteth, 
My friends be fain to sell me ? 

So utterly were his goods expended, that he 
must needs buy herring with the arrows of his 
bow ; as he singeth : 

We fetched the fair cloak-buckle 
The sea-heaven's folk had sent us 

220 The Saga Library. XVIII 

From over the sea, and sold it 
For store of the swimming firth-herd. 
The more part of the herrings 
That leap from hands of Egii, 
To Mar for sea-shafts sold I, 
And all this came of hunger. 




AST RID was the name of the woman whom 
King Tryggvi Olafson had had for wife; 
she was the daughter of Eric Biodaskalli, 
who dwelt at Ofrustead, a mighty man. Now 
after the fall of King Tryggvi, Astrid fled away, 
and fared privily with such chattels as she might 
have with her. In her company was her foster- 
father, Thorolf Louse-beard by name. He never 
departed from her, but other trusty men of hers 
went about spying of tidings of her foes, and their 
comings and Qroingrs. 

Now Astrid went with child of King Tryggvi, 
and she let herself be flitted out into a certain 
water, and lay hidden in a holm thereamidst with 
but few folk in her company. There she brought 
forth a child, a man-child, who was sprinkled with 
water and named Olaf after his father's father. 
There lay Astrid hidden through the summer-tide ; 
but when the nights grew dark and the days grew 
short, and the weather waxed cold, then Astrid gat 
her gone thence with Thorolf and few other folk, 

224 The Saga Library. II 

but they went into peopled parts only when they 
might be hidden by the night, and met no men. 

So on a day in the even they came to Ofrustead, 
to Eric, the father of Astrid, and fared privily. 
There Astrid sent men to the house to tell Eric, 
who let bring them to a certain out-bower, and 
spread a table for them with the best of cheer. 
And when Astrid had been there a little while 
her folk gat them gone, and she abode behind 
with two serving-women of hers, her son Olaf, and 
Thorolf Louse-beard, with his son Thorgils, of six 
winters old ; and there they dwelt through the 


his brother after the slaying of Tryggvi 
Olafson fared to the steads he had 
owned ; but Astrid was gone, and they might hear 
no tidings of her. But the rumour reached them 
that she was with child of King Tryggvi. So in 
autumn-tide they went into the North-country, as 
is aforewrit ; and when they saw Gunnhild their 
mother, they told her all matters concerning what 
had betid them in their journey ; and she asked 
closely of all that had to do with Astrid, and they 
told her such babble as they had heard thereof. 
But now whereas that autumn Gunnhild's sons 
had strife with Earl Hakon, yea and the winter 
thereafter, as is writ afore, withal there was no 
search made after Astrid and her son that winter. 

Ill The story of Olaf Tryggvisou. 225 


THE next spring Gunnhild sent spies to the 
Uplands, and all the way to the Wick, to 
spy what Astrid would be doing ; who, 
when they came back, had chiefly to tell Gunn- 
hild that Astrid would be with her father Eric ; 
and they said that it was more like than not that 
she would be nourishing there the son of her 
and King Tryggvi. 

Then Gunnhild sped messengers, and arrayed 
them well with weapons and horses ; and they 
were thirty men in company, and their leader was 
a man of might, a friend of Gunnhild's, Hakon by 
name. She bade them fare to Eric at Ofrustead, 
and have thenceaway this son of King Tryggvi's, 
and bring him to her. So the messengers go 
all the way, and when they were come but 
a little way from Ofrustead, the friends of Eric 
were ware of them, and bare him tidings of the 
goings of them at eve of the day. .So straightway 
at night-tide Eric arrayed Astrid for departure, 
and gave her good guides, and sent her east-away 
into Sweden to Hakon the Old, a friend of his, 
and a man of might ; so they departed while the 
night was yet young, and came by eve of the next 
day into a country called Skaun, and saw there a 
great stead, and went thereto, and craved a night's 
lodging. They had disguised them, and their 
raiment was but sorry. The bonder thereat was 
called Biorn Poison-sore, a wealthy man but a 
churlish ; he drave them away. So they went that 


226 The Saga Library. Ill 

eve to another thorp hard by, which was called 
Attwood ; one Thorstein was the bonder there, 
who lodged them and gave them good entertain- 
ment that night, and so they slept there well cared 

Now Hakon and the men of Gunnhild came 
to Ofrustead betimes in the morning, and asked 
after Astrid and her son ; but Eric says she is not 
there. So Hakon and his men ransacked all 
the stead, and abode there far on into the day, 
and had some inkling of Astrid's goings. So 
they ride away the selfsame road that she had 
gone, and come late in the evening to Biorn 
Poison-sore in Skaun, and there take lodging. 
Then Hakon asks of Biorn if he had aught to tell 
him of Astrid. Biorn says that certain folk had 
come there that day craving lodging : " But I 
drave them away, and they will be lodged some- 
where or other in the township." 

Now a workman of Thorstein's went that eve 
from the wood, and came to Biorn's because 
it lay on his road. So he found that guests 
were come there, and learned their errand, and 
so goes and tells Master Thorstein. And so 
when the night had yet one third to endure, 
Thorstein waked his guests, and bade them 
get them gone, speaking roughly to them ; but 
when they were come their ways out from the 
garth, Thorstein told them that Gunnhild's mes- 
sengers were at Biorn's, and were about seeking 
them. They prayed him to help them somewhat, 
and he gave them guides and some victual, and 
their guide brought them forth away into the wood 

IV The Story of Olaf Try ggvison. 12.-1 

where was a certain water, and a holm therein 
grown about with reeds ; thither to the holm might 
they wade, and there they lay hid in the reeds. 

Betimes on the morrow rode Hakon from Biorn's 
into the country-side, asking after Astrid whereso- 
ever he came ; and when he came to Thorstein's he 
asked if they were there. Thorstein says that 
certain folk had come thither, but had gone away 
against daybreak east into the wood. So Hakon 
bade Thorstein go with them, seeing that he knew 
the wood, both way and thicket ; so he went with 
them, but when he came into the wood he brought 
them right away from where Astrid lay, and they 
went about seeking all day long, and found them 
nowhere. So they went back and told Gunnhild 
how their errand had sped. 

But Astrid and her fellows went their ways, 
and came forth into Sweden to Hakon the Old ; 
and there abode Astrid and Olaf her son in all 
welcome a lone while. 



NOW Gunnhild the Kings' Mother hears 
that Astrid and Olaf her son are in 
the Swede-realm ; so she sent Hakon 
yet again, and a goodly company with him, east 
to Eric the Swede-king, with good gifts and fair 
words and friendly. There had the messengers 
good welcome, and abode there in good enter- 
tainment. Then Hakon laid his errand before 
the king, saying that Gunnhild sent this word, 

228 The Saga Library. V 

that the king should be to Hakon of such avail 
that he might have Olaf Tryggvison back with 
him to Norway, where Gunnhild would foster 

So the king gave him men, and they ride unto 
Hakon the Old. There Hakon craved for Olaf to 
fare with him with many friendly words. Hakon 
the Old answered him well, but said that Olaf 's 
mother should order his going ; but Astrid will in 
no wise suffer the boy to go. So the messengers go 
their ways, and tell King Eric how matters stand. 
Then they array them for their journey home, 
but crave somewhat of force of the king to have 
the lad away whether Hakon the Old will or not. 
So the king gave them again a company of men, 
and the messengers go therewith to Hakon the 
Old, and crave once more for the lad to fare with 
them ; but whereas the message was taken coldly, 
they fall to big words and threats, and grow right 
wroth. Then sprang forth a thrall named Bristle, 
and would smite Hakon, and scarce may they get 
away unbeaten of the thrall. Then home they 
fare to Norway, and tell Gunnhild of their journey, 
and how they have seen Olaf Tryggvison. 


IGURD, son of Eric Biodaskalli, was the 
brother of Astrid ; he had been a long 
V — ) while away from the land east in Garth- 
realm with King Valdimar, where he dwelt in great 
honour. Now Astrid would fain go thither to 
Sigurd her brother ; so Hakon the Old gave her a 


VI The story of Olaf Tryggvison. 229 

goodly fellowship, and all fair array, and she went 
with certain chapmen. She had now been two 
winters with Hakon the Old, and Olaf was three 
winters old. 

But now as they made into the Eastern sea, 
vikings fell on them, Estlanders, who took both 
men and money ; and some they slew, and some 
they shared between them for bond-slaves. There 
was Olaf parted from his mother, and an Est- 
lander called Klerkon gat him along with Thorolf 
and Thorgils. Klerkon deemed Thorolf over old 
for a thrall, and could not see any work in him, so 
he slew him, but had the lads away with him, and 
sold them to a man named Klerk for a riorht crood 
he-goat. A third man bought Olaf, and gave there- 
for a good coat or cloak ; he was called Reas, and 
his wife Rekon, and their son Rekoni. There 
abode Olaf long, and was well served, and the 
bonder loved him much. He was six winters exiled 
thus in Estland. 


SIGURD ERICSON came into Estland 
on a message of King Valdimar of Holm- 
garth, to wit, the claiming of the king's scat 
in that land. He fared like a mighty man with 
many men and plenteous wealth. 

Now he saw in a certain market-place a lad full 
fair, and knew him for an outlander, and asked 
him of his name and kin. He named himself Olaf, 
and called his father Tryggvi Olafson, and his 

230 The Saga Library. VII 

mother Astrid, daughter of Eric Biodaskalh. So 
Sigurd knew that the lad was his sister's son ; so 
he asked the lad what made him there, and Olaf 
told him all that had befallen in his matter. So 
Sigurd bade him show the way to the goodman 
Reas ; and when he came there he bought both 
the lads, Olaf and Thorgils, and had them with 
him to Holmgarth, but gave out nought about the 
kinship of Olaf, though he did well to him. 


OLAF TRYGGVISON was standing one 
day in the gate, and there were many 
men about, amongst whom he saw Kler- 
kon, who had slain his fosterer, Thorolf Louse- 
beard. Olaf had a little axe in his hand, which 
same he drave into Klerkon's head, so that it 
stood right down in the brain of him ; then he fell 
to running home to the house, and told Sigurd his 
kinsman thereof. So Sigurd straightway brought 
Olaf into the queen's house, and told her these 
tidings. She was called Allogia. Her Sigurd 
prayed help the lad. She answered, looking on 
the lad, that they should not slay so fair a child, 
and bade call to her men all armed. 

Now in Holmgarth was the peace so hallowed, 
that, according to the law thereof, whoso slew a 
man undoomed should himself be slain. And now 
all the people made a rush together, according to 
their custom and law, and sought after the lad, 
where he were ; and it was told that he was in the 

VII The Stoiy of Olaf Tryggvisoii. 231 

queen's garth, and that there was an host of men 
all armed. 

Hereof was the king told, and he went thereto 
with his folk, and would not that they fought, and 
so brought about truce and peace thereafter ; and 
the king adjudged the weregild, and the queen paid 
the fine. 

Thereafter abode Olaf with the queen, and was 
right dear to her. 

It was law at that time in Garth-realm that kingly- 
born men might not abide there, save by the king's 
counsel. So Sigurd told the queen of what kin 
Olaf was, and for why he was come thither, and 
how he might not abide in his own land because of 
his foes, and prayed her deal with the king con- 
cerning this. She did so, praying him to help 
this king's son so hardly dealt with, and she did 
so much by her words, that the king assented 
hereto, and took Olaf under his power, and did 
well and worthily to him, as was meet for a king's 
son to be served. 

Olaf was nine winters old when he came into 
Garth-realm, and he abode with King Valdimar 
other nine winters. 

Olaf was the fairest and tallest and strongest of 
all men, and in prowess surpassing all men told of 
among the Northmen. 

232 The Saga Libya ry. VIII 


with Harald Gormson the Dane-king the 
winter after he had fled from Norway 
before the sons of Gunnhild. So g^reat imaginino^ 
had Hakon through the winter season, that he lay 
in his bed, and waked long, and ate and drank not 
save to sustain his might. Then he sent men of 
his privily north into Thrandheim to his friends 
there, and gave them counsel to slay King Erling 
if they might compass it ; and said withal that he 
would come back to his realm when summer was 
again. That winter they of Thrandheim slew 
Erling as is aforewrit. 

Now betwixt Hakon and Gold Harald was dear 
friendship, and Harald showed all his mind to 
Hakon, saying that he would fain settle in the 
land, and lie out no more in war-ships ; and he 
asked Hakon what he thought of it, whether King 
Harald would be willing to share the realm with 
him if he craved it. 

" Meseemeth," said Hakon, " that the Dane-king 
would not deny thee any rights ; but thou wilt 
know the uttermost of the matter if thou lay it 
before the king; and I ween thou wilt not get the 
realm if thou crave it not." 

So a little after this talk Gold Harald fell to 
talk hereover with King Harald, whenas there were 
standing by many mighty men, friends of either of 
them. There craved Gold Harald of the king to 
share the realm in half with him, even as his birth 
warranted, and his kin there in the Dane- realm. 

IX TJic Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 233 

At this asking grew King Harald exceeding 
wroth, saying that no man had craved it of King 
Gorm, his father, that he should become half-king 
over the Dane-realm ; nay, nor of his father Horda- 
knut, nor of Sigurd Worm-in-eye, nor of Ragnar 
Lodbrok ; and therewith he waxed so wood-wroth 
that none might speak to him. 


NOW was Gold Harald worse content than 
afore, whereas he had gotten the king's 
wrath, and of realm no whit more than 
erst. So he came to Hakon his friend, and be- 
wailed his trouble to him, and prayed him for 
wholesome rede, if such could be, how he might 
get the realm to him ; and said withal, that it had 
come uppermost in his mind to seek his realm with 
might and weapons. Hakon bade him not speak 
that word before any, lest it become known. Said 
he : " Thy life lieth on it. See thou to it, of what 
avail thou art herein. Needs must he who dealeth 
with such big deeds be high-hearted and dauntless, 
and spare neither for good nor ill in bringing to pass 
what he hath set his hand to ; but it is unworthy 
to take up high counsels and then lay them down 
with dishonour." Gold Harald answers : " In 
such wise shall I take up this claim of mine, that I 
will not spare to slay the king himself with mine 
own hand, if occasion serve, since he must needs 
gainsay me this realm which I ought of right to 
have." Therewith they left talking. 

Now King Harald went to Hakon, and they 

234 The Saga Library. X 

fall a-talking, and the king tells the earl what claim 
Gold Harald had made on him for the realm, and 
how he had answered it, saying withal that for 
nought would he diminish his realm : " Yea, if 
Gold Harald will yet hold by this claim, I shall 
deem it but a little matter to let slay him, for I 
trust him ill, if he will not give this up." 

The earl answers : " Meseemeth that Harald 
hath put this matter forth then only when he will by 
no means let it fall ; and I must needs deem that 
if he raise war in the land he will not lack for folk, 
chiefly for the dear remembrance of his father. 
Yet is it most unmeet for thee to slay thy kinsman, 
when, as the matter now is, all folk shall call him 
sackless. Nevertheless I would not have thee 
think that I counsel thee to become less of a king 
than was Gorm thy father, who indeed brought 
increase to his realm, and minished it in no wise." 

Then said the king : " What is thy rede then, 
Hakon ? Must I needs neither share the realm 
then, nor have this bugbear off my hands ? " 

" We shall be meeting a few days hence," said 
Hakon, " and I will turn my mind before that to 
this trouble, and clear it up in some wise." 

Then the king went his ways with all his men. 


EARL HAKON now fell again to the 
greatest brooding and plotting ; and let 
few men be in the house with him. But 
a few days thereafter came King Harald to the 

X The Story of Olaf Tvyggvison. 235 

earl, and they fell a-talking, and the king asked if 
the earl had bethought him on that matter they 
were on the other day. 

Says the earl : " 1 have waked day and night 
ever since, and the best rede meseemeth is that 
thou hold and rule all the realm which thou hadst 
from thy father, but get for Harald thy kinsman 
another kingdom, whereof he shall be a man well 

" What realm is that," said the king, " that I 
may lightly give to Harald, keeping the Dane- 
realm whole the while ? " 

The earl says : " Norway is it. Such kings as 
are there, are ill-beloved of all the folk of the 
land ; and every man wishes them ill, as is but 

The king says : " Norway is a great land and 
a hardy folk, an ill land to fall on with an out- 
land host. Such hap we had when King Hakon 
defended the land, that we lost much folk, and 
won no victory ; and Harald Ericson is my foster- 
son, and hath sat on my knee." 

Then saith the earl : " I knew this long while 
that thou hadst oft given help to the sons of Gunn- 
hild ; yet have they rewarded thee with nought but 
ill ; but we shall come far lightlier by Norway than 
by fighting for it with all the host of the Danes. 
Send thou for thy foster-son Harald, bidding him 
take from thee the lands and fiefs which they had 
aforetime here in Denmark, and summon him to 
meet thee ; and then may Gold Harald in that little 
while win him a kingdom in Norway from Harald 

236 The Saga Library. XI 

The king says that it will be called an evil deed 
to betray his foster-son. 

Saith the earl : " The Danes will account it a 
good exchange, the slaying a Norse viking rather 
than a brother's son, a Dane." 

So they talk the matter over a long while till it 
was accorded between them. 


YET again came Gold Harald to talk with 
Earl Hakon ; and the earl tells him that 
he has been so busy in his matter that 
most like a kingdom would be ready at hand for 
him in Norway. "And now," saith he, "let us 
hold by our fellowship, and I will be a trusty and 
great help to thee in Norway. Get thou first that 
realm ; but then moreover is King Harald very 
old, and hath but one son, a bastard, whom he 
loveth but little." 

So the earl talks hereof to Gold Harald till he 
says he is well content therewith. Thereafter they 
all talk the thing over together full often, the king 
to wit, the earl, and Gold Harald. 

Then the Dane-king sent his men north into 
Norway to Harald Greycloak Right gloriously 
was that journey arrayed, and good welcome had 
they, when they came to Harald the king. There 
they tell the tidings that Earl Hakon is in Den- 
mark, lying hard at death's door, and well-nigh 
widess; and these other tidings withal, that Harald 
the Dane-king biddeth Harald Greycloak, his 

XII TJic story of Olaf Tryggvison. 237 

foster-son to him, to take such fiefs from him as 
the brethren had aforetime in Denmark, and 
biddeth Harald come and meet him in Jutland. 

Harald Greycloak laid this message before Gunn- 
hild his mother and other of his friends ; and men's 
minds were not at one thereon ; to some the jour- 
ney seemed nought to be trusted in, such men as 
were awaiting them yonder ; yet were the others 
more who were fain to fare, whereas there was so 
great famine in Norway, that the kings might 
scarce feed their own household ; wherefrom gat 
the firth wherein the kings abode oftest that 
name of Hardanger; but in Denmark was the 
year's increase of some avail. So men deemed 
that there would be somethingf to be Sfot thence if 
Kin"- Harald had fief and dominion there. 

So it was settled before the messengers went 
their ways, that King Harald should come to 
Denmark in the summer-tide to meet the Dane- 
king, and take of him the fortune he offered. 


Iy ARALD GREYCLOAK fared in the 
— I summer-tide to Denmark with three 
J^ long-ships; Arinbiorn the Hersir of the 
Firths sailed one of them. 

So King Harald sailed out from the Wick to the 
Limbfirth and put in there at the Neck ; and it was 
told him that the Dane-king would speedily come 
thither. But when Gold Harald heard thereof he 

238 The Saga Library. XIII 

made tliither with nine long-ships, for he had afore- 
time arrayed his host for war-saiHng. Earl Hakon 
also had arrayed his folk for war, and had twelve 
ships, all great. 

But when Gold Harald was gone, then spake Earl 
Hakon to the king : " Now see I nought but that 
we are both pressed to row, and paying fine. Gold 
Harald will slay Harald Greycloak, and take the 
kingdom in Norway ; and deemest thou then that 
thou mayst trust him, when thou hast put such 
might into his hands, whereas he spake this before 
me last winter, that he would slay thee, might but 
time and place serve ? Now will I win Norway for 
thee and slay Gold Harald, if thou wilt promise 
me easy atonement at thy hands for the deed. 
Then will I be thine earl, and bind myself by oath 
to win Norway for thee with thy might to aid, and 
to hold the land thereafter under thy dominion 
and pay thee scat. Then art thou a greater king 
than thy father, when thou rulest over two great 
peoples." So this was accorded betwixt the king 
and the earl, and Hakon fared with his host a- 
seekinof Gold Harald. 



GOLD HARALD came to the Neck in the 
Limbfirth, and straightway bade battle to 
Harald Greycloak. Then, though King 
Harald had the fewer folk, he went aland straight- 
way, and made him ready for battle, and arrayed 
his folk. Then before the battle was joined Harald 

XIII llie Story of Olaf Tyyggvisou. 239 

Greycloak cheered on his folk full hard, and bade 
them draw sword, and so ran forth before the van- 
ward battle and smote on either hand. So sayeth 
Glum Geirason in Greycloak's Drapa : 

The god of hilts made meetly, 
E'en he who durst to redden 
The green fields for the people, 
A doughty word hath spoken. 
There Harald the wide-landed 
Gave bidding to his king's-men 
To swing the sword for slaughter ; 
That word his men deemed noble. 

There fell King Harald Greycloak, as sayeth 
Glum Geirason : 

The heeder of the garth-wall 
Of Glammi's steeds, the ship-wont. 
Alow he needs must lay him 
On the wide board of Limbfirth. 
The scatterer of the sea's flame 
Fell on Neck's sandy stretches ; 
He, the word-happy kings' friend 
It was who wrought this slaughter. 

There fell the more part of King Harald's men 
with him ; Arinbiorn the Hersir fell there. 

Now was worn away fifteen winters from the fall 
of Hakon Athelstane's Foster-son, and thirteen 
winters from the fall of Sigurd, the Earl of Ladir. 
So sayeth Ari Thorgilson the priest, that Earl 
Hakon had ruled for thirteen winters over his 
heritage in Thrandheim before Harald Greycloak 
was slain ; but the last six winters of Harald Grey- 
cloak's life, saith Ari, Gunnhild's sons and Hakon 
were at war together, and in turn fled away from 
the land. 

240 The Saga Library. XIV-XV 


EARL HAKON and Gold Harald met a 
little after Harald Greycloak was fallen ; 
and straightway Earl Hakon joined battle 
with Gold Harald. There gat Hakon the victor)', 
and Harald was taken, whom Hakon let straight- 
way hang up on a gallows. Thereafter fared Earl 
Hakon to meet the Dane-king, and had easy atone- 
ment from him for the slaying of Gold Harald, his 


THEN King Harald called out an host from 
all his realm, and sailed with six hundred 
ships ; and in his fellowship was Earl 
Hakon Sigurdson, and Harald the Grenlander. 
son of King Gudrod, and many other mighty men 
who had fled their free lands in Norway before 
the sons of Gunnhild. 

The Dane-king turned his host from the south 
into the Wick, and all the folk of the land submitted 
them to him ; but when he came to Tunsberg 
drew much folk to him, and all the host that came 
to him in Norway King Harald gave into the 
hands of Earl Hakon, and made him ruler over 
Rogaland and Hordland, Sogn, the Firth-country, 
South-mere, North-mere, and Raumsdale. These 
seven counties gave King Harald unto Earl 
Hakon to rule over, with such-like investiture as 

XVI The story of Olaf Tryggvisoii. 241 

had King Harald Hairfair to his sons ; with this to 
boot, that Earl Hakon should have there and in 
Thrandheim also all kingly manors and land-dues, 
and have of the king's goods what he needed if 
war were in the land. 

To Harald the Grenlander gave King Harald 
Vingul-mark, Westfold,and Agdir out to Lidandis- 
ness, and the name of king withal ; and gave him 
dominion therein with all such things as his kin 
had had aforetime, and as Harald Hairfair cave to 
his sons. Harald the Grenlander was as then 
eighteen winters old, and was a famed man there- 
after. So home again fared Harald the Dane- 
king with all the host of the Danes. 


EARL HAKON fared with his host north 
along the land ; and when Gunnhild and 
her sons heard these tidings they gathered 
an host, yet sped but ill with the gathering. So 
they took the same rede as erst, to sail West-over- 
sea with such folk as will follow them ; and first 
they fared to the Orkneys and abode there awhile, 
wherein were ere this the sons of Thorfinn Skull- 
cleaver earls, Lodver to wit, and Arnvid, Liot, 
and Skuli. 

So Earl Hakon laid all the land under him, and 
sat that winter in Thrandheim. Hereof telleth 
Einar J ingle-scale .in the Gold-lack : 

Evil-shunning heeder 
Of eyebrow's field's silk-fiUet, 

242 The Saga Library. XVI 

Seven counties now hath conquered ; 
To all the land good tidings. 

Now Earl Hakon, when he went north along the 
land that summer, and all folk came under him, 
had bidden sustain the temples and blood-offerings 
throughout all his dominions ; and so was it done. 
So sayeth Gold-lack : 

The wise one let Thor's shrine-lands 
Once harried, and all steads truly 
Unto the gods a-hallowed, 
Lie free for all men's usage. 
Ere Hlorrid of the spear-garth, 
He whom the gods are guiding, 
The wolf of the death of the giant 
Over the sea-waves ferried. 

Fight-worthy folk of Hlokks' staff 
To offering-mote now turn them, 
And the mighty red-board's wielder, 
Thereby a fair fame winneth. 
Now as afore earth groweth, 
Since once again gold-waster 
Lets spear-bridge wielders wend them 
Gladheart to the Holy Places. 

Now from the Wick all northward 
Under Earl Hakon lieth. 
Wide stands the rule of Hakon, 
Who swells the storm of fight-board. 

The first winter that Hakon ruled over the 
land, the herring came up everywhere high into 
the land, and in the autumn before had the corn 
grown well wheresoever it had been sown ; but 
the next spring men gat them seed-corn, so that 
the more part of the bonders sowed their lands, 
and speedily the year was of good promise. 

XVII The story of Olaf Tryggvison. 243 


KING RAGNFROD, son of Gunnhlld, 
and Gudrod, another son of hers, these 
were now the only two left of the sons of 
Eric and Gunnhild. So sayeth Glum Geirason in 
Greycloak's Drapa : 

Half of wealth's hope fell from me, 
Then when the spear-drift ended 
The king's life. For no good hap 
To me was Harald's death-day. 
Yet nathless both his brethren 
Behote me somewhat goodly, 
For all the host of manfolk 
For good luck looketh thither. 

Now Ragnfrod gat him ready in spring-tide, 
when he had been one winter in the Orkneys ; 
then he made east for Norway with a chosen com- 
pany and big ships. And when he came to 
Norway he heard that Earl Hakon was in 
Thrandheim. So he made north about the Stad, 
and harried in South-mere. There some men 
came under him, as oft befalleth when warring 
bands come on the land, that they whom they fall 
in with seek help for themselves whereso it seems 
likeliest to be gotten. 

Earl Hakon hears these tidings, how there was 
war south in Mere. So he dight his ships and 
sheared up the war-arrow, and arrayed him at his 
speediest, and sailed down the firth, and sped well 
with his gatherin^r of folk. 

244 ^-^^^ Saga Libraiy. XVII 

So they met, Ragnfrod and Earl Hakon, by the 
northern parts of South-mere, and Hakon straight- 
way joined battle. He had the more folk, but the 
smaller ships. Hard was the battle, and the 
brunt was heaviest on Hakon. They fought from 
the forecastles, as was the wont of those days. 
The tide set in up the sound, and drave all the 
ships landward together. So the earl bade back- 
water toward shore, where it looked handiest to 
go aland ; and so when the ships took ground the 
earl and all his host went from their ships, and 
drew them up, so that their foes might not drag 
them out. Then the earl arrayed his battles on 
the mead, and cried on Ragnfrod to come ashore. 
Ragnfrod and his folk stood close in, and they shot 
at each other a long while ; yet would he not go 
up aland, but departed at this pass, and stood with 
his host south about the Stad, for he dreaded the 
land-host if folk should perchance flock to Earl 

But the earl would not join battle again, because 
he deemed the odds of ship-boards over-great. So 
he fared north to Thrandheim in the autumn, and 
there abode winter-long-. But King Ragnfrod 
held in those days all south of the Stad ; Firth- 
land, to wit, Sogn, Hordland, and Rogaland. 
He had a great multitude about him that winter, 
and when spring came, he bade to the muster, and 
gat a mighty host. Then fared he through all 
those parts aforenamed to gather men and ships 
and other gettings, such as he needed to have. 

XVIII The story of Olaf Tryggvisou. 245 


EARL HAKON called out folk in the 
spring-tide from all the North-country. 
He had much folk from Halogaland and 
Naumdale. Right away, moreover, from Byrda 
to the Stad had he folk from the seaboard lands ; 
and a multitude flocked to him from all Thrand- 
heim and from Raumsdale. So tells the tale that 
he had an host drawn from four folk-lands, and 
that seven earls followed him, each and all with a 
very great company. So sayeth it in Gold-lack : 

Further the tale now tell I, 

How the Mere-folks' war-fain warder, 

Now let his folk be faring 

From the Northland forth to Sogn. 

The Frey of Hedin's breezes 

From four lands manfolk levied. 

Soothly the war-brands' Uller 

Therein saw goodly helping. 

Seven lords of land came sweeping 
On hurdles smooth of Meiti, 
Unto the mote of gladdener 
Of the sparrow of the shield-swarf. 
All Norway clattered round them, 
When the god of the wall of Hedin 
Rushed on to meet in edge-thing. 
Dead men by the nesses floated. 

Earl Hakon brought all this host south about 
the Stad. There he heard that King Ragnfrod 
was gone with his host into the Sogn-firth. So 
he turned thither with his folk, and there was the 

246 The Saga Library. XVIII 

meeting of him and Ragnfrod. The earl brought- 
to his ships by the land, and pitched a hazelled 
field for King Ragnfrod, and chose there a battle- 
stead. So saith Gold-lack : 

The Wend-slayer on King Ragnfrod 
Came once again in battle, 
Sithence betid a man-fall 
Far-famed in that meeting. 
The Narvi of the screaming 
Of shield-witch bade turn landward ; 
The need of Talk of snow-shoes 
He laid by the sea-ward folk-land. 

There befell a full hard battle ; but Earl Hakon 
had many more folk, and he won the day. At 
Thing-ness this was, where Sogn meeteth Hord- 

So King Ragnfrod fled away to his ships, and 
there fell of his folk three hundred men. As saith 
Gold-lack : 

Strong fight ere the fight-groves' queller, 

That fierce one, there brought under 

The claws of the carrion vulture 

Three hundred fallen foemen. 

The king, the victory-snatcher. 

Who giveth growth to battle. 

O'er the heads of the host of the ocean, 

Strode thence. 'Twas a deed right gainful. 

After this battle King Ragnfrod fled away from 
Norway ; but Earl Hakon gave peace to the 
land, and let fare back northward that great host 
that had followed him through the summer ; but 
he himself abode there the autumn, yea, and the 
winter-tide withal. 

XIX-XX The story of Olaf Tryggvisoii . 247 


EARL HAKON wedded a woman called 
Thora, the daughter of Skagi Skoptison, 
a wealthy man, and Thora was the fairest 
of all women. Their sons were Svein and Heming, 
and Bergliot was their daughter, who was wedded 
thereafter to Einar Thambarskelfir. 

Earl Hakon was much given to women, and 
had a many children. Ragnfrid was a daughter 
of his, whom he gave in marriage to Skopti 
Skagison, brother of Thora. The earl loved 
Thora so well, that he held her kin dearer than 
other men, and Skopti his son-in-law was more 
accounted of than any other of them. The earl 
gave him great fiefs in Mere ; and whensoever 
the earl's fleet was abroad, Skopti was to lay his 
ship alongside the earl's ship ; neither would it do 
for any to lay ship betwixt them. 


ON a summer Earl Hakon had out his fleet, 
and Thorleif the Sage was master of a 
ship therein. Of that company also was 
Eric, the earl's son, who was as then ten or eleven 
winters old. So whenever they brought-to in 
havens at night-tide, nought seemed good to Eric 
but to moor his ship next to the earl's ship. 

But when they were come south to Mere, thither 
came Skopti, the earl's brother-in-law, with a long- 

248 The Saga Library. XX 

ship all manned ; but as they rowed up to the 
fleet, Skopti called out to Thorleif to clear the 
haven for him, and shift his berth. Eric answered 
speedily, bidding Skopti take another berth. That 
heard Earl Hakon, how Eric his son now deemed 
himself so mighty that he would not give place to 
Skopti. So the earl called out straightway, and 
bade them leave their berth, saying that somewhat 
worser lay in store for them else, to wit, to be 
speedily beaten. So when Thorleif heard that, he 
cried out to his men to slip their cables ; and even 
so was it done. And Skopti lay in the berth 
whereas he was wont, next the earl's ship to wit. 

Now Skopti was ever to tell all tidings to the 
earl when they two were together ; or the earl would 
tell tidings to Skopti, if so be he wotted first of 
them. So Skopti was called Skopti of the Tidings. 

The next winterwas Eric with Thorleif his foster- 
father, but early in spring-tide he drew to him a 
company of men; and Thorleif gave him a fifteen- 
benched cutter with all gear, tents, and victuals. 
And Eric sailed therewith down the firth, and so 
south to Mere ; but Skopti of the Tidings was 
a-rowing from one manor of his to another in 
a fifteen-benched craft, and Eric turned to meet 
him, and joined battle with him. There fell 
Skopti, and Eric gave quarter to all those who yet 
stood upon their feet. So sayeth Eyjolf Dada- 
skald in Banda-drapa : 

Yet very young he gat him. 
One eve on Meiti's sea-skate. 
Well followed, 'gainst the hersir 
Tligh-heartcd of the sea-marge. 

XX Tlie story of Olaf Try ggvison. 249 

Whenas the one that shaketh 
The flickering flame of targe-field 
Made Skopti fall, wolf-gladdener 
Gave meat enow to blood-hawks. 

VVealth-swayer, fiercely mighty, 
Made fall Sand-Kiar in battle. 
Yea there the life thou changedst 
Of the land's belt's-fire's giver. 
So strode off the steel-awer 
Away from the dead din-bidder 
Of the storm of stem-plain's ravens. 
The land at gods' will draweth. . . . 

Then sailed Eric south along the land, and came 
right forth to Denmark, and so fared to meet King 
Harald Gormson, and abode with him the winter ; 
but the spring thereafter the Dane-king sent Eric 
north into Norway, and gave him an earldom with 
Vingul-mark and Raum-realm to rule over, on such 
terms as the scat-paying kings had aforetime had 
there. So sayeth Eyjolf : 

Few winters old, folk-steerer 
Bode south there at the ale-skiff 
Of the sea-worm, one while owned 
By the Finn of serpent's seat-berg, 
Ere the wealth-scatterers willed it 
To set adown the helm-coifed. 
The whetter of the Hild-storra, 
Beside the bride of Odin. 

Earl Eric became a mighty chieftain in after 

250 The Saga Library. XXI 


ALL this while was Olaf Tryggvison in 
Garth-realm, amid all honour from King 
Valdimar, and loving-kindness from the 
queen. King Valdimar made him captain of the 
host which he sent forth to defend the land. So 
sayeth Hailstone : 

The speech-clear foe of the flame-flash 
Of the Yew-seat had twelve winters, 
When he, stout friend of Hord-folk, 
Dight warships out of Garth-realm. 
The king's men, there they laded 
Prow-beasts with weed of Hamdir, 
With the clouds of the clash of sword-edge, 
And with the helms moreover. 

There had Olaf certain battles, and the leading 
of the host throve in his hands. Then sustained 
he himself a great company of men-at-arms at his 
own costs from the wealth that the kino- grave to 
him. Olaf was open-handed to his men, whereof 
was he well beloved. Yet it befell, as oft it doth 
when outland men have dominion, or win fame 
more abimdant than they of the land, that many 
envied him the great love he had of the king, and 
of the queen no less. So men bade the king be- 
ware lest he make Olaf over-great : " For there 
is the greatest risk of such a man, lest he lend 
himself to doing thee or the realm some hurt, he 
being so fulfilled of prowess and might and the 
love of men ; nor forsooth wot we whereof he and 
the queen are evermore talking." 

XXI The Story of Olaf T/yggvison. 25 1 

Now it was much the wont of mighty kings in 
those days, that the queen should have half the 
court, and sustain it at her own costs, and have 
thereto of the scat and dues what she needed. 
And thus was it at King Valdimar's, and the queen 
had no less court than the king ; and somewhat 
would they strive about men of fame, and either 
of them would have such for themselves. 

Now so it befell that the king trowed those redes 
aforesaid which folk spake before him, and be- 
came somewhat cold to Olaf, and rough. And 
when Olaf found that, he told the queen thereof, 
and said withal that he was minded to fare into 
the Northlands, where, said he, his kin had do- 
minion aforetime, and where he deemed it like 
that he should have the most furtherance. 

So the queen biddeth him farewell, and sayeth 
that he shall be deemed a noble man whitherso- 
ever he cometh. 

So thereafter Olaf dight him for departure, and 
went a-shipboard and stood out to sea in the 

But when he came from the east he made Borg- 
und-holm, and fell on there and harried. Then 
came down the landsmen on him, and joined battle 
with him ; and Olaf won the victory, and a great 

252 The Saga Library. XXII 


OLAF lay by Borgund-holm, but there gat 
they bitter wind and a storm at sea, so 
that they might no longer He there, but 
sailed south under Wendland, and gat there good 
haven, and, faring full peacefully, abode there 

Burislaf was the name of the king in Wendland, 
whose daughters were Geira, Gunnhild, and Astrid. 
Now Geira, the king's daughter, had rule and do- 
minion there, whereas Olaf and his folk came to 
the land, and Dixin was the name of him who 
had most authority under Queen Geira. And so 
when they heard that alien folk were come to the 
land, even such as were noble of mien, and held 
them ever in peaceful wise, then fared Dixin to 
meet them, with this message, that she bade those 
new-come men to guest with her that winter-tide ; 
for the summer was now far spent, and the weather 
hard, and storms great. So when Dixin was come 
there, he saw speedily that the captain of these 
men is a noble man both of kin and aspect. Dixin 
told them that the queen bade them to her in 
friendly wise. So Olaf took her bidding, and 
fared that autumn-tide unto Queen Geira, and 
either of them was wondrous well seen of the 
other ; so that Olaf fell a-wooing, and craved 
Queen Geira to wife. And it was brought to 
pass that he wedded her that winter, and be- 
came ruler of that realm with her. Hallfred the 

XXIV The story of Olaf Try ggvison. 253 

Troublous-skald telleth of this in the Drapa he 
made upon Olaf the king : 

The king, he made the hardened 
Corpse-banes in blood be reddened 
At Hohne and east in Garth-realm. 
Yea, why should the people hide it ? 



EARL HAKON ruled over Norway, and 
paid no scat, because the Dane-king had 
granted him all the scat which the king 
owned in Norway for the labour and costs that 
the earl was put to in defending the land against 
the sons of Gunnhild. 


KEISAR OTTO was lord of Saxland in 
those days, who sent bidding to Harald 
the Dane-king to take christening and 
the right troth, both he and the folk he ruled 
over, or else, said the Keisar, he would fall upon 
them with an host. 

So the Dane-king let array his land-wards and 
sustain the Dane-work, and dight his war-ships ; 
and therewith he sent bidding to Earl Hakon in 
Norway to come to him early in spring with all 
the host he micjht sfet. So Earl Hakon called 
out his host from all his realm in the spring-tide, 

254 The Saga Library. XXV 

and eat a orreat followinof, and sailed with that folk 
to Denmark to meet the Dane-king, and goodly 
welcome the king gave him. 

Many other lords were come to the help of the 
Dane-king at that tide, and a full mighty host he 


OLAF TRYGGVISON had abided that 
winter in Wendland, as is afore writ ; and 
that same winter he fared into those lands 
of Wendland that had been under Queen Geira, 
but now were clean turned away from her service 
and tribute. 

There harried Olaf, and slew many men, and 
burned some out of house and home, and took 
much wealth, and, having laid under him all those 
realms, turned back again to his own stronghold. 
Early in spring-tide Olaf dight his ships and sailed 
into the sea ; he sailed to Skaney, and went aland 
there. The folk of the land gathered together and 
gave him battle, but Olaf had the victory, and gat 
a great prey. 

Then sailed he east to Gothland and took a 
cheaping-ship of the lamtlanders. They made a 
stout defence forsooth, but in the end Olaf cleared 
the ship and slew many men, and took all the 
wealth of them. 

A third battle he had in Gothland, and won the 
victory and gat a great prey. So sayeth Hallfred 
the Troublous-skald : 

XXVI The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 255 

The great king, the shrine's foeman, 
There felled the lamtland dwellers 
And Wendland folk in fight-stour. 
So in young days his wont was. 
Sword-hardy lord of hersirs 
To Gothland lives was baneful ; 
I heard it of gold-shearer, 
That he raised spear-gale on Skaney. 


KEISAR OTTO drew together a mighty 
host ; he had folk from Saxland, and 
Frankland, from Frisland and Wendland. 
King Burislaf followed him with a great company, 
and thereof was Olaf Tryggvison his son-in-law. 
The Keisar had a mighty host of riders, and yet 
more of footmen; from Holtsetaland also had he 
much folk. 

King Harald sent Earl Hakon with the host of 
Northmen that followed him to the Dane-work to 
ward the land there, as it saith in Gold-lack : 

It fell, too, that the yoke-beasts 

Of the ere-boards ran from the Northland 

Neath the deft grove of battle, 

Down south to look on Denmark. 

The lord of the folk of Dofrar, 

The ruler of the Hord-men, 

Becoifed with the helm of aweing. 

Now sought the lords of Denmark. 

The bounteous king would try him. 
Amidst the frost of murder. 
That elf of the land of mirkwoods, 
New-come from out the Northland. 

256 TIte Saga Libraiy. XXVI 

When bade the king the doughty 
Heeder of storm of war-sark 
Hold walls against the fight-Niords 
Of Hagbard's hurdles' rollers. 

Keisar Otto came from the south with his host 
against the Dane-work ; and Earl Hakon warded 
the burg-wall with his company. Now such is 
the fashion of the Dane-work that two firths go 
up into the land on either side thereof, and from 
end to end of these firths had the Danes made a 
great burg-wall of stones and turf and timber, and 
dug a deep and broad ditch on the outer side thereof; 
and castles are there before each bur^j-eate. 

So there befell a great battle ; as is told in 
Gold-lack : 

'Twas not an easy matter 
To go against their war-host, 
Though Ragnir of garth of spear-flight 
Wrought there a stour full hardy, 
Whenas fight-Vidur wended 
From the south with the Frisian barons 
And the lords of the Franks and Wend-folk, 
Egged on the sea-horse rider. 

Earl Hakon set companies all over the burg- 
gates ; but the more part of his folk he let wend up 
and down the wall, and withstand the foe where- 
soever the onset was hottest. Fell many of the 
Keisars host, and they gat nought won of the 
burg-wall. So the Keisar turned away, and tried 
it no longer. So saith it in Gold-lack : 

Rose din of the flame of Thridi 
When the dealers in the point-play 
Laid shield to shield. Fight-hardy 
Was the stirrer of ernes' cravins;. 

XXVII The story of OlnfTryggmsou. 257 

The fray-Thrott of tlie sound steed 
Turned Saxons unto fleeing ; 
The king, he and his goodmcn, 
The Work from the aUens warded. 

After the battle fared Earl Hakon back to his 
ships, and was minded to sail back north to Norway ; 
but the wind was foul for him, and he lay out in 
the Limbfirth. 


y .^ EISAR OTTO wended back with his 

1^ host to Sleswick, and there drew a fleet 
JL 3L^ together, and so flitteth his host over the 
firth to Jutland. But when Harald Gormson the 
Dane-king heard thereof, he went against him with 
his host, and there was a great battle, wherein the 
Keisar prevailed at the last ; so the Dane-king 
fled away to the Limbfirth and out into Mars-isle. 

Then went men betwixt the King and the Keisar, 
and truce was brought about, and a meeting ap- 
pointed. So Keisar Otto and the Dane-king met 
in Mars-isle, and there Bishop Poppo preached 
the holy faith before King Harald, and bare glow- 
ing iron in his hand, and showed King Harald his 
hand unburnt thereafter. 

So King Harald let himself be christened with 
all the host of the Danes. 

King Harald had sentword afore to Earl Hakon, 
whenas the king was abiding in Mars-isle, to come 
and help him ; but Earl Hakon came to the isle 

in S 

258 The Saga Library. XXVIII 

when the king had already got christened, who 
sent word to the earl to come and meet him ; and 
when they met the King let christen Earl Hakon 
will he nill he. So the earl was christened, and all 
the men who followed him ; and the king gave 
him priests and other learned men, and bade the 
earl to do christen all folk in Norway. 

Therewith they sundered, and Earl Hakon fared 
down to the sea and abode a wind there. 


NOW when the wind came and he deemed 
he might stand out to sea, he cast up 
aland all those learned men, and so 
sailed out to sea ; but the wind veered round to 
the south-west and west, and the earl sailed east 
through Ere-sound, harrying on either land ; then 
he sailed east-away by Skaney-side, and harried 
there, yea, and wheresoever he made land ; but 
when he came east off the Gaut-skerries he made 
for land and made there a great sacrifice. Then 
came flying thither two ravens and croaked with a 
high voice ; whereby the earl deemed surely that 
Odin had taken his blood-offering, and that he 
would have a happy day of fight. So thereon the 
earl burnt all his ships, and went up aland with his 
host, and wended the war-shield alway. Then 
came to meet him Earl Ottar, who ruled over Gaut- 
land, and they had a great battle together, and 

XXVI 1 1 The Story ofOlaf Tryggvison. 259 

Hakon won the day, but Earl Ottar fell, and a 
many of his folk with him. Then fared Earl Hakon 
through either Gautland, and all with the war-shield 
aloft, till he came to Norway ; then he went by the 
land-road north-away to Thrandheim. 
Hereof is said in Gold-lack : 

The feller of the fleeing 

For the god's rede forth on mead went ; 

The bole of the gear of Hedin 

Gat happy day for battle. 

And the bidder of war-waging 

Had sight of corpse-fowl mighty ; 

The Tyr of pine-rod's hollow 

Longed for the lives of Gautfolk. 

The earl there held a folk-mote 
Of the wild-fire of the sword-vale 
Where none erst came to harry, 
With Sorli's roof above him. 
None bare the shield bedizened 
With the sleeping-loft of ling-fish, 
So far up from the sea-shore 
The lord o'erran all Gautland. 

The god of the gale of Frodi 
The fields with dead men loaded ; 
Gain might the gods' son boast of, 
Gat Odin many chosen. 
What doubt but gods be ruling 
The lessener of kings' kindred ? 
I say that gods strong-waxen 
Make great the sway of Hakon. 

26o The Saga Library. XXIX-XXX 


KEISAR OTTO fared back to his own 
realm of Saxland, and he and the Dane- 
king parted in friendly wise. So say men 
that Keisar Otto became gossip of Svein, the son 
of King Harald, and gave him his name, so that 
he was christened Otto Svein. 

King Harald held the Christian faith well unto 
his death-day. 

So fared King Burislaf back to Wendland, and 
Olaf his son-in-law with him. 

Of this battle telleth Hallfred the Troublous- 
skald in the Olaf 's Drapa : 

The speeding-stem of the horses 
Of rollers there was hewing 
The birch of fight-sark barkless 
In Denmark south of Heathby. 


OLAF TRYGGVISON was three winters 
in Wendland ; and then Geira his wife fell 
sick, and that sickness brought her to her 
bane. Such great scathe did Olaf deem this, that 
he had no love for Wendland ever after. So he 
betook him to his war-ships, and fared yet again 
a-warring ; and first he harried in Friesland, and 
then about Saxland, and so right away to Flanders. 
So sayeth Hallfred the Troublous-skald : 

XXXI The Story of Ola f Tryggvison. 261 

The king the son of Tryggvi 
At last let fast be hewen 
To troll-wife's steed ill-waxen 
The bodies of the Saxons. 
The king the well-befriended 
Gave drink to the dusky stallion, 
Whereon Night-rider fareth, 
Brown blood of many a Frisian. 

Fierce feller of fight's people 
Drew from its skin the corpse-awl ; 
Let host-lord flesh of Flemings 
Be yolden unto ravens. 


THEN sailed Olaf Tryggvison to England, 
and harried wide about the land ; he sailed 
north all up to Northumberland, and har- 
ried there, and thence north-away yet to Scotland, 
and harried wide about. Thence sailed he to the 
South-isles, and had certain battles there ; and then 
south to Man, and fought there, and harried also 
wide about the parts of Ireland. Then made he for 
Bretland, and that land also he wasted wide about, 
and also the land which is called of the Kymry ; 
and again thence sailed he west to Valland, and 
harried there, and thence sailed back east again, 
being minded for England, and so came to the isles 
called Scillies in the western parts of the English 
main. So sayeth Hallfred the Troublous-skald : 

The young king all unsparing 
Fell unto fight with English ; 
The nourisher of spear-shower 
Made murder for Northumbria. 

262 The Saga Library. XXXII 

The war-glad wolf-greed's feeder, 
Wide then the Scot-folk wasted ; 
Gold-slayer wrought the sword-play 
In Man with sword uplifted. 

The bow-tree's dread let perish 

The Isle-host and the Irish ; 

The Tyr of swords be-worshipped 

Of fame was sorely yearning. 

The king smote Bretland's biders, 

And hewed adown the Kymry. 

There then the greed departed 

From the choughs of the storm of spear-cast. 

Olaf Tryggvison was four winters about this 
warfare, from the time he fared from Wendland till 
when he came to Scilly. 


NOW when Olaf Tryggvison lay at Scilly 
he heard tell that in the isle there was a 
certain soothsayer, who told of things not 
yet come to pass ; and many men deemed that things 
fell out as he foretold. So Olaf fell a-longing to 
try the spacing of this man ; and he sent to the wise 
man him who was fairest and biggest of his men, 
arrayed in the most glorious wise, bidding him say 
that he was the king ; for hereof was Olaf by then 
become famed in all lands, that he was fairer and 
nobler than all other men. But since he fared from 
Garth-realm, he had used no more of his name than 
to call him Oli, and a Garth-realmer. Now when 
the messenger came to the soothsayer and said he 

XXXII The story of Olaf Try ggvison. 263 

was the king, then gat he this answer : " King art 
thou not ; but my counsel to thee is, that thou be 
true to thy king." 

Nor said he more to the man, who fared back 
and told Olaf hereof; whereby he longed the more 
to meet this man, after hearing of such answer 
given ; and all doubt fell from him that the man 
was verily a soothsayer. So Olaf went to him, and 
had speech of him, asking him what he would say 
as to how he should speed coming by his kingdom, 
or any other good-hap. 

Then answered that lone-abider with holy 
spaedom : " A glorious king shalt thou be, and do 
glorious deeds ; many men shalt thou bring to 
troth and christening, helping thereby both thyself 
and many others ; but to the end that thou doubt 
not of this mine answer, take this for a token : Hard 
by thy ship shalt thou fall into a snare of an host 
of men, and battle will spring thence, and thou 
wilt both lose certain of thy company, and thyself 
be hurt ; and of this wound shalt thou look to die, 
and be borne to ship on shield ; yet shalt thou be 
whole of thy hurt within seven nights, and speedily 
be christened thereafter." 

So Olaf went down to his ship, and met un- 
peaceful men on the way, who would slay him and 
his folk ; and it fared with their dealincrs as that 
lone-biding man had foretold him, that Olaf was 
borne wounded on a shield out to his ship, and was 
whole again within seven nights' space. 

Then deemed Olaf surely that the man had told 
him a true matter, and that he would be a soothfast 
soothsayer, whencesoever he had his spaedom. So 

264 TJie Saga Librayy. XXXIII 

he went a second time to see this soothsayer, and 
talked much with him, and asked him closely 
whence he had the wisdom to foretell things to 
come. The lone-dweller told him that the very 
God of christened men let him know all things 
that he would, and therewithal he told Olaf many 
great works of Almighty God ; from all which 
words Olaf yeasaid the taking on him of christen- 
ing ; and so was he christened with all his fellows. 
He abode there long, and learned the right troth, 
and had away with him thence priests and other 
learned men. 


IN the autumn-tide sailed Olaf from the Scillies 
to England. He lay in a certain haven there, 
and fared peacefully, for England was chris- 
tened, as he was now become christened. 

Now went through the land a bidding to a certain 
Thing, and all men should go thither ; and when 
the Thing was set on foot, thither came a queen 
hight Gyda, sister of Olaf Kuaran, who was King 
of Dublin in Ireland; she had been wedded in 
England to a mighty earl, who was now dead, and 
she held his realm after him. Now there was 
a man in her realm named Alfwin, a great 
champion and fighter at holmgangs. This man 
wooed Gyda, who answered that she would make 
choice of one to wed her from out the men of her 
realm ; and for this cause was the Thing aforesaid 
assembled, and there was Gyda to choose herself a 

XXXIII The story of Olaf Tryggvison. 265 

husband. Thither was come Alfwin decked out 
with the best of raiment, and many other well 
attired were there. Thither also was come Olaf, 
clad in his wet-weather gear, and a shag-cloak 
over all, and he stood with his company outward 
from other folk. 

Now went Gyda, here and there looking at 
everyone who seemed to her of the mould of a man ; 
but when she came whereas Olaf stood, and looked 
up into the face of him, she asked what man he 
was. He named himself Oli : " I am an outland 
man here," said he. 

Gyda said: "Wilt thou have me? then will I 
choose thee." 

" I will not gainsay that," said he. And therewith 
he asked her of her name, and what was her kin, 
and the house of her. 

" Gyda am I called," said she, " a king's daughter 
of Ireland, but I was wedded here in the land to 
an earl who had dominion here. But now since 
he is dead have I ruled the realm, and men have 
wooed me ; neither have I seen any to whom I 
list to be wedded." 

She was a young woman, and full fair ; so they 
talked the matter over, and were of one mind on 
that. So now Olaf betrothed him to Gyda. 

266 The Saga Libmry. XXXIV-XXXV 


BUT now is Alfwln full ill content. And it 
was the custom of those days in England 
that if any two contended about a matter, 
they should meet on the Island ; wherefore Alfwin 
biddeth Olaf Tryggvison to the Island on this 
matter. So time and place were appointed for the 
battle ; and they were to be twelve on either side. 
So when they met, Olaf gave the word to his men to 
do as he did. He had a great axe, and when Alfwin 
would drive his sword at the king, he smote the 
sword from the hand of him, and then a stroke on 
the man himself; so that Alfwin fell, and therewith 
Olaf bound him fast. In like wise fared all Alfwin's 
men, and they were beaten and bound, and so led 
home to Olaf s lodging. Then Olaf bade Alfwin 
depart from the land, and never come back again, 
and Olaf took all his wealth. 

Then Olaf wedded Gyda and abode in England, 
or whiles in Ireland. 


NOW when Olaf was in Ireland, he was 
warring on a time ; and a-shipboard they 
fared, and needed a strand -slaughtering. 
When the men go up aland, and drive down a many 
beasts, then came to them a certain goodman, who 
prayed Olaf give him back his own cows. Olaf bade 
him take them if he might find them, " But let him 

XXXVI The story of Olaf Tryggvison. 267 

not delay the journey ! " Now the goodman had 
there a great herd-dog, to which dog he showed 
the herd of neat, whereof were being driven many 
hundreds. Then the hound ran all about the 
herd, and drave away just so many neat as the 
goodman had claimed for his, and they were all 
marked in one wise ; wherefore men deemed belike 
that the hound verily knew them aright, and they 
thought him wondrous wise. Then asked Olaf of 
the goodman if he would sell his hound. "With a 
good will," said the goodman. 

But the king gave him a gold ring there and 
then, and promised to be his friend. 

That dog was called Vigi, and was the best 
of all dogs. Olaf had him for long afterward. 


NOW Harald Gormson the Dane-king 
heard how Earl Hakon had cast aside 
his christening, and harried wide in the 
realm of the Dane-king. So he called out an host, 
and fared away for Norway. And when he came 
to the realm of Earl Hakon he harried there, and 
laid waste all the land, and then brought-to by the 
isles called Solunds. But five steads only were 
left standing unburned by him in Lteradale of 
Sogn, and all folk fled to the fells and woods with 
such of their chattels as they might bear away. 
And now was the Dane-king minded to sail with 

268 Tlie Saga Library. XXXVII 

that mighty host to Iceland, and avenge him of 
the shame which the Icelanders, one and all, had 
laid upon him. For it had been made a law in 
Iceland that for every nose in the land should a 
scurvy rime be made on the Dane-king. And 
this was the cause thereof, that a ship owned of 
Icelandmen had been cast away in Denmark, and 
the Danes took all the goods for lawful drift, and 
one Birgir, a bailiff of the king's, had been chief 
dealer in this matter. And the scurvy rimes were 
done on both of them. This is in the said rimes : 

When strode fight-wonted Harald 
From the south to the mew of Mornir, 
The Wend's-bane then as wax was 
In no shape but a staUion's. 
But unrich Birgir out cast 
By the powers of the Hall of Mountains, 
In the land in mare's shape met him ; 
And that beheld the people. 


NOW King Harald bade a wizard shape for 
a skin-changingjourneyto Iceland, andsee 
what tidings he might bring him thereof. 
So he fared in the likeness of a whale. And whenas 
he came to the land he went west round about the 
north country ; and he saw all the fells and hills full 
of land-spirits both great and small. But when he 
came off Weapon-firth he went into the firth, and 
would go up aland ; but lo, there came down from 
the dale a mighty drake, followed of many worms 
and paddocks and adders, and blew venom at him. 

XXXVII The story of Olaf Tryggvison. 269 

So he gat him gone, and went west along the land 
till he came to Eyjafirth. Then he fared up into 
the firth. But there came against him a fowl so 
great that his wings lay on the fells on either side, 
and many other fowl were with him, both great 
and small. So he fared away thence, and west 
along the land, and so south to Broadfirth, and 
there stood in up the firth. But there met him a 
great bull that waded out to sea and fell a-bellow- 
ing awfully, and many land-spirits followed him. 
Thenceaway he gat him, and south about Reek- 
ness, and would take land on the Vikars-Skeid. But 
there came against him a mountain-giant, with an 
iron staff in his hand, and who bore his head 
higher than the fells, and with him were many 
other giants. So thenceaway fared the wizard east 
endlong of the south country. " And there," says 
he, " was nought but sands, and land haven-less, and 
a huge surf breaking round about without them ; 
and so great is the main betwixt the lands," said 
he, "that all unmeet it is for long-ships." 

Now in those days was Brodd-Helgi abiding in 
Weapon-firth ; Eyjolf Valgerdson in Eyjafirth ; 
Thord the Yeller in Broadfirth ; and Thorod the 
Priest in Olfus. 

So the Dane-kinof stood south alonqf the land 
with his host, and so went south to Denmark. 
But Earl Hakon let build all the land again, and 
none the more ever paid scat to the Dane-king. 

270 The Saga Library. XXXVIII 


SVEIN, the son of King Harald, who was 
afterwards called Twibeard, craved do- 
minion of King Harald his father ; but it 
was as afore that King Harald would not share 
the Dane-realm, nor give his son dominion. Then 
Svein gathers war-ships to him, and says that he 
will go a-warring ; but when they were all come 
together, and Palnatoki, to wit, of the Jomsburg 
vikings was come to help him, then Svein stood 
toward Sealand and in up Icefirth, where lay King 
Harald his father with his ships, all ready to fare 
to the wars. So straightway Svein fell on him, and 
there was a great battle. But so much folk drew 
to King Harald that Svein was overborne by 
odds, and fled away. 

Notwithstanding, there gat King Harald the 
hurts which brought him to his bane. 

So thereafter was Svein taken for king in 

In those days was Earl Sigvaldi captain over 
Jomsburg in Wendland. He was son of King 
Strut-Harald, sometime King of Skaney. The 
brethren of Earl Sigvaldi were Heming and 
Thorkel the High. 

Then also was a lord among the Jomsburg 
vikings Bui the Thick of Borgund-holm, and 
Sigfurd his brother. Vagn also, the son of Aki 
and Thorgunna, and sister's-son of Bui. 

Now Earl Sigvaldi and his brother had laid 
hands on King Svein, and brought him to Joms- 

XXXIX The Story of Olaf Tvyggvisou .271 

burg in Wendland, and driven him perforce to 
make peace with Burislaf the Wend-king, in such 
wise that Sigvaldi was to make peace between them 
— Earl Sigvaldi had then to wife Astrid, daughter 
of King Burislaf — " either else would the earl," said 
he, "deliver King Svein to the Wends." Now 
King Svein knew full well that then would the 
Wends torment him to death, so he assented to 
this peace-making of the earl. 

So Earl Sijrvaldi laid down that King Svein 
should wed Gunnhild, daughter of King Burislaf; 
and King Burislaf, Thyri, Harald's daughter, sister 
of King Svein ; and either king to hold his dominion, 
and peace to be between the lands of them. 

So King Svein fared home to Denmark with 
Gunnhild his wife, and their sons were Harald 
and Knut the Mighty. 

In those days did the Danes make great threats 
of sailing with an host to Norway against Earl 


KING SVEIN held a famous feast, and 
bade to him all lords of his realm, for 
he would hold his grave-ale after King; 
Harald his father ; and a little before had died 
Strut- Harald in Skaney, and Veseti of Borgund- 
holm, the father of Bui and Sigurd. So King 
Svein sent word to the Jomsburgers bidding Earl 
Sigvaldi and Bui, and the brethren of each, come 
hold the CTrave-ale of their fathers at this same 

272 TJie Saga Library. XXXIX 

feast which the king was arraying. So to the 
feast fared the Jomsburgers with all the valiantest 
of their folk ; eleven ships from Jomsburg had 
they, and twenty from Skaney. So thither was 
come together a full great company. The first 
day of the feast, before King Svein stepped into 
the high-seat of his father, he drank the cup of 
memory to him, swearing therewith that before 
three winters were outworn he would bring an host 
to England, and slay King ^Ethelred, or drive him 
from his realm. And that cup of memory must 
all drink who were at the feast. 

Thereupon was poured forth to those lords of 
Jomsburg; and ever was borne to them brimming 
and of the strongest. But when this cup was drunk 
off, then must all men drink a cup to Christ. And 
then were borne to the Jomsburgers the biggest 
horns of mightiest drink that was there. The third 
cup was Michael's memory, and that also must all 
drink. But thereafter drank Earl Sigvaldi the 
memory of his father, swearing oath therewith 
that before three winters were worn away he would 
come into Norway, and slay Earl Hakon, or else 
drive him from the land. 

Then swore Thorkel the High, the brother of 
Sigvaldi, that he would followhis brother to Norway, 
nor ever flee from battle leaving Sigvaldi fighting. 

Then swore Bui the Thick that he would fare to 
Norway with them, and in no battle flee before 
Earl Hakon. 

Then swore Sigurd his brother that he would 
fare to Norway, and not flee while the more part 
of the Jomsburgers fought. 

XL The Story of Ola f Tryggvison. 273 

Then swore Vagn Akison that he would fare 
with them to Norway, and not come back till he 
had slain Thorkel Leira, and lain a-bed by his 
dauofhter Ing-ibioror without the leave of her kin. 

Many other lords also swore oath on sundry 
matters. So that day men drunk the heirship-feast. 

But the morrow's morn, when men were no more 
drunken, the Jomsburgers thought they had spoken 
big words enough ; so they met together and took 
counsel how they should bring this journey about, 
and the end of it was that they determined to set 
about it as speedily as may be. So they arrayed 
their ships and their company; and wide about the 
lands went the fame of this. 


NOW Earl Eric, son of Hakon, heard these 
tidings as he abode in Raum-realm. So 
he straightway gathered folk to him, and 
fared to the Uplands, and so north over the fells to 
Thrandheim to meet Earl Hakon, his father. 
Hereof telleth Thord Kolbeinson in Eric's Drapa: 

Now fared great soothfast war-tales 
Of the steel-stems wide around there 
Out from the south, and therewith 
Good bonders woe foreboded. 
The stem of the steed of the meadow 
Of Sveidi heard how the boardlong 
Dane-ships o'er the well-worn rollers 
In the south were run out seaward. 

So Earl Hakon and Earl Eric let shear up the 
war-arrow all about the Thrandheim parts ; bid- 


274 The Saga Library. XLI 

ding also they sent to either Mere, and to Raums- 
dale, north also into Naumdale and Halogaland ; 
therewith they called out their whole muster both 
of ships and men. So saith it in Eric's Drapa : 

Shield-maple set his cutters, 

Round-ships and great keels many 

Into the surf a-rushing 

(Grows the skald's song praise-bounteous). 

OIT shore were ships a-many, 

When the point-hardener mighty 

Seaward drew garth about it, 

His father's land, with war-shields. 

Earl Hakon went straightway into Mere to hold 
espial there, and gather folk ; but Earl Eric drew 
his host together, and led it from the north. 


THE Jomsburgers brought their host into 
the Limbfirth, and sailed out thence into 
the main with sixty ships, and came in to 
Agdir ; thence they brought their host to Roga- 
land, and fell a-harrying so soon as they came into 
the dominion of Earl Hakon ; and so fare they 
toward the North-country doing all deeds of war. 

Now there was a man named Geirmund, who 
was sailing in a skiff, and certain men with him, 
and he came on north to Mere, and there fell in 
with Earl Hakon, and went in before the board 
and told the earl the tidings of an host in the 
South-country come from Denmark. 

The earl asked if he had any soothfast token 
hereof to show. So Geirmund drew forth his 

XLII The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 275 

other arm with the hand smitten off at the wrist, 
and saith that by that token was an host in the 
land. Then asked the earl closely concerning this 
host, and Geirmund saith they were the vikings of 
Jomsburg, and had slain many men, and robbed 
far and wide : " Swift fare they though, and full 
eagerly, and belike no long time will wear by or 
they are come upon thee here." 

So thereon the earl rowed through all the firths 
in along one shore and out along the other ; night 
and day he fared, and had espial holden inland about 
the E id-reaches right away south to the Firths on 
one side, and north away on the other, whereas Eric 
went with his host. This is told of in Eric's Drapa : 

The war-wise earl who driveth 
The fifth-board steeds far seaward, 
Now set his prows high-fashioned 
Against Sigvaldi's coming. 
There shook the oars a-many, 
But the solacers of wound-fowl 
Who rent the sea with oar-blade, 
They feared the bane in nowise. 

Earl Eric meanwhile fared south with his host 
at his swiftest. 


EARL SIGVALDI led his host north about 
the Stad, and brought-to first at Her-isles. 
Here, though the vikings fell in with the 
folk of the land, these told them never the truth 
of what the earl was about. The Jomsburgers 
harried wheresoever they came ; they brought-up 

276 The Saga Library. XLIII 

west of Hod-isle, and went ashore there and 
harried, driving down to their ships both thrall and 
beast, but slew all carles fit for fight. 

But now as they came down to their ships there 
came to meet them a certain bonder afoot, and 
this was hard by where went the company of Bui. 
Spake the bonder: "Nought like men-at-arms fare 
ye, driving to the strand cow and calf; better prey 
to take the bear, now nigh come to the bear's den." 

" What says the carle ? " said they. " Canst 
thou tell us aught of Earl Hakon ? " 

Said the bonder : " He fared yesterday in to 
Hiorund-firth. One ship or two he had, or at the 
most not more than three ; nor had he heard 
aught of you." 

Then straightway Bui and his folk fell a-running 
to the ships and let loose all their booty ; and Bui 
said : "Make we the most of it that we have espied 
on the earl, and so be we the nighest to the victory." 

So when they come to their ships, straightway 
they row out ; and Earl Sigvaldi called out to 
them, asking what tidings ; and they said that 
Earl Hakon was there in the firth. So Earl Sigvaldi 
weighed, and rowed out north of the isle of Hod, 
and so in about the isle. 


BUT Earl Hakon and Eric his son lay 
in Halkell's-wick, with all their host now 
come together, being an hundred and 
eighty ships, and they had tidings how the Joms- 

XLIII The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 277 

burgers had stood from the west in to Hod. So 
the earls rowed from the south to seek them. 

But when they came to Hiorung-wick they 
met, and either side arrayed them for the battle. 
In the midst of the array of the Jomsburgers was 
set forth the banner of Earl Sigvaldi ; and over 
against him was arrayed the battle of Earl Hakon. 
Earl Sigvaldi had twenty ships and Earl Hakon 
sixty. In Earl Hakon's battle were these two 
captains, Thorir Hart of Halogaland and Styrkar 
of Gimsar. 

On the one wing of the Jomsburgers was Bui 
the Thick and Sigurd his brother, and over 
against him fell on Earl Eric Hakonson with sixty 
ships, and these lords to aid, Gudbrand the White 
of the Uplands, to wit, and Thorkel Leira, a man 
of the Wick. 

Again, on the other wing of the Jomsburgers 
was arrayed Vagn Akison with twenty ships, and 
against him was Svein Hakonson, and with him 
Skeggi from Uphowe in Yriar, and Rognvald of 
./Erwick in Stad, with sixty shifts. So is it told 
in Eric's Drapa : 

Far down along the coast-land 
Sped the sea-host, but the sea-mews 
Of the glow-home fight-ways glided 
To meet the keels of Denmark. 
Them most in Mere the earl cleared ; 
Neath the seekers of gold's plenty 
The steed of the sea-brim drifted 
Deep laden with warm slain-heap. 

And thus saith Eyvind Skald-spiller in the 
Halogaland Tale : 

2 78 The Saga Library. X L 1 1 1 

To the hurt-wreakers 
Of Yngvi Frey 
Least of all things 
Was that day's dawning 
A joyous meeting, 
When the land-rulers 
Sped their fleet 
Against the wasters. 
Whereas the sword-elf 
Thrust the sea-steeds 
Forth from the southland 
Against their war-host. 

So then they brought the fleets together, and 
there befell the grimmest of battles, and many fell 
on either side, but many the more of Hakon's folk, 
for hardily, hard, and handily fought the vikings of 
Jomsburg, and clean through shields they shot, and 
so great was the brunt of weapons about Earl Hakon 
that his byrny was all rent and perished, so that he 
cast it from him. Thereof telleth Tind Hallkelson : 

The sewing, that the flame-Gerd 
Wrought for the earl with bent-boughs 
Of the shoulder, grew ungainly. 
Waxed din of Fiolnirs fires, 
Whereas the byrny's Vidur 
Must shed the ring-bright, clattering 
War-sark of Hangi. Cleared were 
The weltering steeds of sea-stream. 

Where the ring-weaved shirt of Sorli 
From the earl was blown to tatters 
On the sound ; whereof a token 
That friend of warriors show'eth. 

XLIV The Story of Olaf Tyyggvisou. 279 


NOW the Jomsburgers had the bigger ships 
and the higher of bulwark ; but either 
side fought most fiercely. Vagn Akison 
lay so hard on the ship of Svein Hakonson that 
Svein let back-water and was on the point of 
fleeing. Then thither turned Earl Eric, and thrust 
into the battle against Vagn ; and Vagn gave back 
and the ships lay where they had been at the first. 
So Earl Eric gat him back to his own battle, where 
his men now were giving aback, and Bui having 
cut himself adrift from the lashings, was about 
driving them to flight. So Earl Eric lay Bui's ship 
aboard, and a battle of handy-strokes betid of the 
sharpest, and two of Eric's ships or three were on 
Bui's ship alone. And therewithal came down 
foul weather with so great hail, that a hailstone 
weighed an ounce. Even therewith Earl Sigvaldi 
cut his lashings and turned his ship about with the 
mind to flee. Vagn Akison cried out at him bid- 
ding him not to flee away ; but Earl Sigvaldi gave 
no heed thereto, whatsoever he might say. Then 
Vagn shot a spear at him, and it smote the man 
who sat by the tiller. So rowed away Earl Sigvaldi 
with five-and-thirty ships, and but five-and-twenty 
were left lying behind. 

28o The Saga Library. XLV 


THEN laid Earl Hakon his ship on the 
other board of Bui, and many strokes in 
short space befell Bui's men. Vigfus, son 
of Slaying Glum, took up a snout-anvil that lay 
on the forecastle of Earl Hakon's ship, whereon 
some man had been a-driving home the rivet of his 
sword-hilt. A strong man was Vigfus ; and he 
cast the anvil with both hands and smote it on the 
head of Aslak Holm-pill-pate, so that the spike 
drave into his brain. By no weapon had Aslak 
been bitten afore, as he fought on smiting with 
either hand ; he was foster-son of Bui, and his 
forecastle-man. There was another of them, hight 
Howard the Hewer, the strongest and valiantest 
of men. Now in this stour Eric's men gat up 
aboard Bui's ship, and made aft to the poop toward 
Bui. Then Thorstein Midlang smote Bui right 
athwart the nose through the nose-guard, and a 
very great wound was that ; but Bui smote Thor- 
stein round-handed on the flank, so that the man 
fell asunder in the midst. 

Then caught up Bui two chests full of gold, and 
called on high, " Overboard all folk of Bui ! " and 
himself leapt overboard with those chests. And 
therewith many men of his leapt overboard, and 
others fell on the ship, for as to peace it availed 
not to pray it. So was Bui's ship cleared from 
stem to stern, and then the rest of them one after 

XLVI The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 281 


THEN fell Earl Eric on Vagn's ship, and 
was met full valiantly ; but in the end was 
the ship cleared, and Vagn laid hands on, 
and thirty men with him, and they were brought 
aland bound. Now Thorkel Leira went up to 
them and said : " Vagn, thou swarest oath to 
slay me, but now meseemeth I am more like to 
slay thee." 

Now Vagn and his folk sat all together on a 
tree-trunk ; and Thorkel had a great axe, where- 
with he smote down him who sat outermost on 
the trunk. Vagn and his fellows were so bound 
that a rope was done about the feet of them all, 
but their hands were loose. Now spake one of 
them : " Lo here my cloak-clasp in my hand, and 
I will thrust it into the earth if I wot of aught 
after my head is off." So the head was smitten 
from him, and down fell the clasp from his 

Hard by sat a very fair man with goodly hair. 
He swept his hair up over his head, and stretched 
forth his neck saying : " Make not my hair 
bloody ! " So a certain man took his hair in his 
hand and held it fast. Thorkel hove up his axe, 
but the viking snatched his head sharply, and he 
who held his hair lowted forward with him, and 
the axe came down on both his hands, and took 
them off, so that it struck into the earth. There- 
with came Earl Eric thither and asked : " Who is 
this goodly man ? " " Sigurd the lads call me," 

282 The Saga Library. XLVII 

saith he ; " I am a bastard son of Bui ; not yet are 
all the vikings of Jomsburg dead." 

Eric saith : " Verily wilt thou be a son of Bui. 
Wilt thou have peace ? " says he. 

" That hangs on who biddeth it," said Sigurd. 

" He biddeth," said the earl, " who hath might 
thereto ; Earl Eric to wit." 

" Then will I take it," says he. So he was 
loosed from the tether. 

Then spake Thorkel Leira : " Though thou, earl, 
will give peace to all these men, yet never shall 
Vagn Akison depart hence alive ! " 

And he ran at him with brandished axe ; but 
the viking Skardi let himself fall in the tether and 
lay before Thorkel's feet, and Thorkel fell flatling 
over him. Then Vagn caught up the axe, and 
smote Thorkel his death-blow. 

Spake the earl then : " Wilt thou have peace, 
Vagn?" "Yea will I," saith he, "so be we all 
have it." 

" Loose them from the tether then," saith the 
earl. And so was it done ; eighteen were slain, 
but twelve had peace. 


NOW sat Earl Hakon with many men on a 
tree-bole, and there twanged a bowstring 
from Bui's ship, and therewith came an 
arrow and smoteGizurof Valdres, alord of land, who 
sat next to the earl clad in brave raiment. Then 
went men out to the ship and found there Howard 

XLVII The Story of Olaf Tryggmson. 283 

the Hewer, standing on his knees out by the 
bulwark, for the legs had been smitten from him ; 
and in his hand he had a bow. So when they 
came out to the ship Howard asked, " Who fell 
from the log ?" " Gizur," they said. " Then was 
my luck lesser than I would," said he. 

" 111 luck enough," said they, " but thou shalt win 
no more." And they slew him. Then were the 
slain searched, and all wealth brought together for 

So was it said that twenty and five ships of the 
Jomsburg vikings were cleared. Thus Tind 

sayeth : 

He, Hugin's fellows' feeder, 
Now laid the sword-edge foot-prints 
Upon the host of Wend-folk. 
There bit the dog of thong-sun 
Or ever the wight spear-stems 
Might clear a five-and-twenty 
Of the long-ships of their war-host. 
That was a deed of peril. 

Then departed the host this way and that ; and 
Earl Hakon went to Thrandheim, and was exceed- 
ing ill-content that Eric had given peace to Vagn 

The talk of men it is that in this battle Earl 
Hakon offered up his son Erling to Odin for victory, 
and thereafter came down that hail-storm, and fall 
of men therewith betid to the Jomsburgers. 

Earl Eric fared up to the Uplands, and thence 
to his own realm ; and Vagn Akison fared with 
him. And Eric wedded Vagn to Ingibiorg, 
daughter of Thorkel Leira, and gave him a goodly 
long-ship well found in all things, and gat a crew 

284 The Saga Library. XLVIII 

for him. In all friendship they parted, and Vagn 
fared home south to Denmark. He grew of great 
fame afterwards, and many great men are come of 


HARALD the Grenlander was king in 
Westfold, as is afore writ. He had to 
wife Asta, daughter of Gudbrand Kula. 
Now on a summer whenas Harald the Gren- 
lander was a-warring in the East-lands to get him 
goods, he came into Sweden. Olaf the Swede 
was king there in those days, the son of Eric the 
Victorious and Sigrid, daughter of Skogul-Tosti. 
Sigrid was now a widow, and had many and great 
manors in Sweden. So when she heard that 
Harald the Grenlander, her foster-brother, was 
come off the land, she sent men to him, bidding 
him come guest with her. And he slept not over 
his journey, but went thither with a great com- 
pany of men. Goodly welcome abode him, and 
the king and queen sat in the high-seat and drank 
together through the evening, and in noble wise 
were all his men treated. At nisrht-tide also, when 

the king went to his bed-chamber, the bed was all 
hung with pall and arrayed with dear-bought cloths. 
In that lodging were but few men ; and when the 
king was unclad and gotten into bed, then came 
thiiher the queen to him, and poured out to him 
herself and pressed the drink on him hard, and 
was exceeding kind unto him. The king was full 

X LVI 1 1 The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 285 

merry with drink ; yea, and she too. Then fell the 
king asleep, and she also went her ways to bed. 

Now Sigrid was the wisest of women, and fore- 
seeing about many matters. 

The next morning was the feast still most noble. 
But it befell, as oft it doth, that whereas men are 
exceeding drunk, on the morrow they are for the 
more part wary of the drink. Yet was the queen 
joyous, and she and the king talked together ; and 
she fell a-saying how she deemed her land and 
dominion in Sweden there to be no less worth 
than his kingdom in Norway and his lands. 
Amidst this talk waxed the king heavy of mood 
and short of speech, and so got him ready to 
depart with a heart full sick ; but ever was the 
queen most merry of mood, and brought him on his 
way with great gifts. So Harald fared back to 
Norway in the autumn, and abode at home that 
winter in joyance little enough. 

But the next summer he fared toward the 
East-lands with his host, and made for Sweden. 
Then he sent word to Queen Sigrid that he would 
see her, and she rode down to meet him, and they 
fell to speech together. Speedily his words came 
to this, whether she would wed with him ; but she 
said that were a fool's wedding for him, he being 
so well wedded already, as better might not be. 

Harald saith that Asta is a good woman and 
of noble blood ; " yet is she not so high-born as 
I be." 

Sigrid answereth : " Maybe thou art come of 
higher kin than she ; yet none the less meseemeth 
with her lieth the good-hap of you both." 

286 The Saga Library. XL IX 

And there were but few more words spoken 
between them ere Sigrid rode away. 

Then waxed King Harald heavy-hearted, and 
he arrayed him to ride up into the land and meet 
Queen Sigrid yet again. Many of his men would 
have stayed him, but he went his way none the 
less with a great company of men, and came to 
the manor-house where the queen was lady. 

Now the self-same evening came east-away 
from Garth-realm another king, hight Vissavald, 
and he also was about wooing Oueen Siorrid. 

So both the kings were lodged in a great cham- 
ber, and all their company. Old was the chamber, 
and all the array of it in like wise ; but there was 
no lack that night of drink, so mighty that all men 
were drunken, and the head-guard and the out- 
guard were all asleep. 

Then amidst the night let Queen Sigrid fall on 
them with fire and sword, and the hall burned up 
there, and they who were therein ; but they who 
won out were slain. 

Said Sigrid hereat that she would weary these 
small kines of comino- from other lands to woo 
her. So she was called Sigrid the Haughty 


HE winter before these things, was 
foughten the battle with the vikings of 
Jomsburg in Hiorung-wick. 
Now one Hrani had been left behind with the 


L The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 287 

ships when Harald had gone up aland, and he was 
captain of those folk that were left behind. 

But when they heard that Harald had lost his 
life, they gat them away at their swiftest and back 
to Norway, where they told these tidings. Hrani 
went to Asta and told her what had betid, and 
therewith on what errand King Harald had gone 
to Queen Sigrid. So straightway Asta fared into 
the Uplands to her father, so soon as she had 
heard these tidings ; and he gave her good wel- 
come. And full wroth were they both at the 
guiles that had been toward in Sweden, and that 
Harald had been minded to put her away. 

So Asta Gudbrand's daughter brought forth a 
man-child there that summer, who was named 
Olaf when he was sprinkled with water ; but 
Hrani sprinkled the water on him. And at the 
first was the lad nourished with Gudbrand and 
with Asta his mother. 


EARL HAKON ruled all the outer parts 
of Norway along the sea, and had six- 
teen folk-lands under his dominion. But 
since Harald Hairfair had ordained an earl to be 
over every county, that order endured for long, 
and Earl Hakon had sixteen earls under him, as 
is said in Gold-lack : 

Where tell the folk of such like, 
A land where earls are lying 
Sixteen neath one land-ruler. 
Hereof should all folk ponder. 

288 The Saga Library. LI 

The sea limes' urger's folk-play 
Of the fire of head of Hedin 
Goes forth on high bepraised 
Unto the heavens' four corners. 

Whiles Earl Hakon ruled in Norway was the 
year's increase good in the land. And good peace 
there was betwixt man and man among the 

Well beloved of the bonders was the earl the 
more part of his life ; but as his years wore, it was 
much noted of the earl that he was mannerless in 
dealing with women ; and to such a pitch this came, 
that the earl let take the daughters of mighty men 
and bring them home to him, and would lie by them 
for a week or twain, and then send them home. 
Whereof he won great hatred from the kin of 
such women, and the bonders fell a-murmuring sore 
against it, even as they of Thrandheim are wont 
to do when aught goeth against their pleasure. 


NOW Earl Hakon heard some rumour to 
this end, that there would be a man W^est- 
over-sea who called himself Oli, and that 
they held him for king there. And the earl had a 
deeminor from the talk of certain folk that this 


man would be come of the blood of the Norse 
kings. Now he was told that Oli called himself 
of the kin of Garth-realm, and the earl had heard 
how Tryggvi Olafson had had a son who had 

LI I The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 289 

fared east into Garth-realm and been nourished 
there at King Valdimar's, and that he was called 
Olaf. The earl had sought far and wide for this 
man, and now he misdoubted he would be this 
man come there into the Westlands. 

Now there was a man called Thorir Klakka, a 
great friend of Earl Hakon, who was long whiles at 
viking work, but whiles would go cheaping voyages, 
and was of good knowledge of lands. Him Earl 
Hakon sent West-over-sea, bidding him go a 
cheaping voyage to Dublin, as many folk were 
wont, and look into it closely what this man Oli 
was ; and if he found that he verily was Olaf 
Tryggvison, or any other offspring of the kingly 
stem of the North, then was Thorir to entangle 
him with guile if he might bring it to pass. 


SO thereon gat Thorir west unto Ireland to 
Dublin, and learned that Oli was there, who 
was as then with King Olaf Kuaran, his 
brother-in-law. Speedily then gat Thorir speech 
with Oli, and a man wise of speech was Thorir. 

Now when they had talked oft and right long 
together, Oli fell to asking concerning Norway, 
and first of the Upland kings, and who of them 
were yet alive, and what dominion they had. Of 
Earl Hakon also he asked, and how well beloved 
he might be in the land. Thorir answered : " The 
earl is so mighty a man that none durst to speak 
but as he will. Yet this somewhat bringeth it 
in. u 

290 The Saga Library. LI I 

about, that there is none to seek to otherwhere. 
And yet, to say thee sooth, I know the mind of 
many mighty men, yea, of all the people, that 
they would be most fain and eager to have a 
king for the land come of the blood of Harald 
Hairfair; but none such have we to turn to, and 
chiefly for this cause, that it is now well proven 
how little it availeth to contend with Earl 

Now when they had oft talked in this wise, Olaf 
bringeth to light before Thorir his name and kin, 
and asked his rede, what he thought of it, if Olaf 
should fare to Norway, whether the bonders would 
take him for king. But Thorir egged him on full 
fast to the journey, and praised him much and his 
prowess. So Olaf fell a-longing sorely to fare to 
the land of his fathers ; and he saileth from the 
west with five ships, first to the South-isles, and 
Thorir was in company with him. Thence he 
sailed to the Orkneys, and there lay as then Earl 
Sigurd Hlodverson by Rognvaldsey in Asmunds- 
wick with one long-ship, being minded to fare 
over to Caithness. Even therewith King Olaf sailed 
his folk from the west to the islands, and brought- 
to there, whereas he might not win as then 
through the Pentland Firth. And when he knew 
that the earl lay there already, he let summon 
him to talk with him. But when the earl came to 
speech with the king, few words were spoken 
before the king sayeth this, that the earl must let 
himself be christened, and all the folk of his land, 
or die there and then. And the king said that he 
would fare through the isles with fire and sword, 

L 1 1 TJie Story of Olaf Tryggvisoii . 291 

and lay waste the whole land, but if the folk would 
be christened. So the earl, being thus bestead, 
chose to take christening, and he was christened 
and all the folk that were with him. Then swore 
the earl oath to the king, and became his man, 
and gave him his son for hostage, who was called 
Whelp or Hound, and Olaf had him home to Nor- 
way with him. 

Then sailed Olaf east into the sea, and came 
from out the main to Most-isle, and there first he 
went aland in Norway, and let sing mass in his 
land-tent, and in the aftertime was a church built 
in that same place. 

Now Thorir Klakka told the king that there 
was nought for him to do but to keep it hidden 
who he was, and let no espial go forth of him, but 
to fare with all diligence to meet the earl, in such 
wise that he shall come on him unawares. 

Even so did King Olaf, and fared north day 
and night as weather served, nor let the folk of 
the land wot of his ways, whether he was bound. 

But when he came north to Agdaness he heard 
that Earl Hakon was in the firth, and withal 
that he was at strife with the bonders. And when 
Thorir heard tell of these things, then were matters 
gone a far other way than he had been deeming ; 
for after the battle with the Jomsburg vikings 
were all men of Norway utterly friendly to Earl 
Hakon for the victory he had gotten, and the 
deliverance of all the land from war ; but now so ill 
had things turned out that here was the earl at 
strife with the bonders, and a great lord come into 
the land. 

292 The Saga Library. LI 1 1 


NOW Earl Hakon was a-guesting at 
Middlehouse in Gauldale, but his ships 
lay out off Vig. There was a man 
named Worm Lyrgia, a wealthy bonder, who dwelt 
at Buness and had to wife one named Gudrun, 
daughter of Bergthor of Lund ; she was called the 
Sun of Lund, and was the fairest of women. Now 
the earl sent his thralls to Worm on this errand, 
to wit, to have away to him Gudrun Worm's wife. 
So the thralls showed him their errand, but Worm 
bade them first go to supper; and then or ever 
they had done their meat, came many men to 
Worm from the township, whom he had sent for, 
nor would Worm in any wise suffer Gudrun to go 
with the thralls. Gudrun moreover spake, and 
bade the thralls tell the earl that she would not 
come to him but if he sent Thora of Rimul after 
her ; a wealthy dame, and one of the earl's best- 

So the thralls say that in such wise shall they 
come another time that both master and mistress 
shall repent them of their scurvy treatment, and 
therewithal gat them gone with many threats. 

Then Worm let the war-arrow fare four ways 
through the country-side with this bidding withal, 
that all men should fall with weapons on Earl 
Hakon to slay him. He sent moreover to Haldor 
of Skerding-Stithy, and straightway Haldor let 
wend the Avar-arrow. 

A little before the earl had taken the wife of a 

LI 1 1 The Story of Ola/ Tryggvison. 293 

man named Bryniolf, and had gotten great hatred 
for the deed, and war had been at point to arise 

So at this message of the war-arrow sprang up 
much people, and made for Middlehouse; but the 
earl had espial of them, and went his ways from 
the stead with his folk into a deep dale which is 
now called the Earl's-dale, and there they lay hid. 

The next day the earl espied all the host of the 
bonders. The bonders took all the ways, but 
were most of mind that the earl would have 
gotten to his ships, whereof was Erland his son 
captain, the most hopeful of men. 

But at nightfall the earl scattered his men, 
bidding them fare by the woodland ways out to 
Orkdale : 

"No man will do you hurt, if I be nowhere anigh ; 
but send word to Erland to fare out down the 
firth, and let us meet in Mere, and meanwhile 
I will hide me well from the bonders." 

Then departed the earl, and a thrall of his 
named Kark was with him. 

Now the water of Gaul was under ice, and the 
earl thrust his horse into it, and let his cloak lie 
behind there, and then went they into the cave 
which has been called the Earl's-cave thereafter ; 
and there they fell asleep. But when Kark awoke 
he told a dream of his : how a man, black and evil 
to look on, passed by the cave's mouth so that he 
was afeard of his coming in, and this man told him 
that Ulli was dead. Then said the earl that it 
was Erland would be slain. 

Yet again slept Kark the thrall, and was 

294 The Saga Library. LI 1 1 

troubled in his sleep, and when he woke he told 
his dream : how he had seen that same man com- 
ing down back again, who bade him tell the earl 
that now were all the sounds locked. So told Kark 
his dream to the earl, who misdoubted now that 
this betokened him a short life. 

Then he arose, and they went to the stead of 
Rimul, and the earl sent Kark to Thora, bidding 
her come privily to him. So did she, and welcomed 
the earl kindly, and he prayed her to hide him for 
certain nig-hts till the s^atherinsr of the bonders went 
to pieces. Said she : " They will be seeking thee 
here about my stead both within and without ; for 
many wot that I would fain help thee all I may, 
but one place there is about my stead where I 
deem that I would not think of seeking for such a 
man as thou, a certain swine-sty to wit." 

So they went thither ; and the earl said : " Make 
we ready here ; for we must take heed to our lives 
first of all." Then dug the thrall a deep hole 
therein, and bore away the mould, and then laid 
wood over it. Thora told the earl the tidings how 
Olaf Tryggvison was come into the mouth of the 
firth, and had slain Erland his son. 

Then went the earl into the hole, and Kark with 
him, and Thora did it over with wood, and 
strawed over it mould and muck, and drave the 
swine thereover. And this swine-sty was under 
a certain big stone. 

LIV The Story of Olaf Ti'yggvisoii. 295 


OLAF TRYGGVISON stood in up the 
mouth of the firth with five long-ships, and 
there rowed out to meet him Erland, the 
son of Earl Hakon, with three ships. But as the 
ships drew nigh one to the other, Erland misdoubted 
him that this would be war, and turned about to- 
ward the land. But when King Olaf saw the 
long-ships come rowing down the firth to meet 
him, he thought that Earl Hakon would be going 
there, and bade row after them in all haste. But 
when Erland and his folk were come to the land 
they ran the ships aground, and leapt overboard 
straightway and made for the shore. Then drave 
thither Olaf 's ships ; and Olaf saw a man striking 
out for shore who was exceeding fair ; so he caught 
up the tiller and cast it at that man, and it smote 
the head of Erland the earl's son, and beat out his 
brains ; and there Erland lost his life. 

Olaf and his folk slew many men ; some fled 
away, and some they laid hands on and took to 
peace, from whom they heard the tidings. So it 
was told to Olaf that the bonders had driven Earl 
Hakon away, and that he was fleeing before them, 
and that all his folk were scattered. 

296 The Saga Library. LV 


THEREWITHAL came the bonders to 
meet Olaf, and either side were fain of 
other, and they fall straightway into good 

So the bonders take him to be king over them, 
and all with one accord go about to seek for Earl 
Hakon, and so fare up into Gauldale, deeming 
it most like that the earl will be at Rimul, if at any 
habited stead he be, because Thora was his dearest 
friend of all the dale folk. So thither fare they, 
and seek the earl within and without, and find him 
not. Then held Olaf a house-thing out in the 
garth, and himself stood up on that same big stone 
that was beside the swine-sty. 

There spake Olaf to his men, and some deal of his 
speaking was that he would with wealth and worth 
further him who should bring Earl Hakon to harm. 

Now this talk heard the earl and Kark, and 
they had a light there with them ; and the earl 
said : " Why art thou so pale, or whiles as black 
as earth .•" is it not so that thou wilt bewray me ? " 

" Nay," said Kark. 

" We were born both on one and the same 
night," said the earl, " nor shall we be far apart in 
our deaths." 

Then fared King Olaf away as the eve came 
on, but in the night the earl kept himself waking, 
but Kark slept and went on evilly in his sleep. 
Then the earl waked him and asked what he 
dreamed ; and he said : "I was e'en now at 

LVI The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 297 

Ladir, and King Olaf laid a gold necklace on the 
neck of me." 

The earl answered : " A blood-red necklace shall 
Olaf do about thy neck whenso ye meet. See thou 
to it ; but from me shalt thou have but good even 
as hath been aforetime ; so betray me not." 

So thereafter they both waked, as men waking 
one over the other. 

But against the daybreak the earl fell asleep, 
and speedily his sleep waxed troubled, till to such 
a pitch it came that he drew under him his heels 
and his head as if he would rise up, and cried out 
high and awfully. Then waxed Kark adrad and full 
of horror, and gripped a big knife from out his belt 
and thrust it through the earl's throat and sheared 


it right out. That was the bane of Earl Hakon. 

Then Kark cut the head from the earl, and ran 
away thence with it; and he came the next day 
to Ladir, and brought the earl's head to King 
Olaf, and told him all these things that had befallen 
in the goings of him and Earl Hakon, even as is 
here written. 

Then let King Olaf lead him away thence, and 
smite the head from him. 


THEN fared King Olaf, and a many of the 
bonders with him, out to N id-holm, and 
had with him the heads of Earl Hakon 
and Kark. 

Now this holm was kept in those days for the 

298 TJie Saga Library. LVI 

slaying of thieves and evil men, and a gallows 
stood there ; and so thereto the king let be borne 
the head of Earl Hakon, and of Kark withal. 

Then thereto went the whole host of them, and 
set up a whooping, and stoned the heads, crying 
out, that there they fared meetly together, rascal 
by rascal. 

Then they let fare up Into Gauldale and take 
the corpse of him and drag it away. 

And now so great was the might of that enmity 
of the Thrandheimers against Earl Hakon, that no 
man durst name him otherwise than the Evil Earl ; 
and for long after was this name laid on him. Yet 
sooth to say of Earl Hakon, for many things was 
he worthy to be lord ; first, for the great stock he 
was come of, and then also for the wisdom and 
insight wherewith he dealt with his dominion ; for 
his high heart in battle and his good hap withal, 
for the winning of victory and slaying of his foe- 
men. And thus saith Thorleif Redfellson : 

Of no earl ever heard we 

Neath the moon's highway, Hakon, 

More famed than thou ; Ran's fight-stem 

Gat fame from out the battle. 

Nine mighty chiefs to Odin 

Thou sentest ; eats the raven 

The gotten corpses. Therefore 

Mightst thou be king wide-landed. 

Most bountiful also was Earl Hakon. But most 
evil hap had such a lord in his death-day. And 
this brought it most about, that so it was that the 
day was come, when foredoomed was blood-offering 
and the men of blood-offerings, and the holy faith 
come in their stead, and the true worship. 

LVII The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 299 


NOW was Olaf Tryggvison taken for king 
ataThingofall thepeople inThrandheim 
over the land even as Harald Hairfair 
had held it. There rose up all the people throng- 
ing, and would hear nought else but that Olaf 
Tryggvison should be king. 

Then King Olaf fared through all the land and 
laid it under him, and all men of Norway turned to 
his obedience ; yea, all the lords of the Uplands or 
the Wick, who had aforetime held their lands of 
the Dane-king, these became King Olaf's men 
and held their lands of him. In such wise he 
fared through the land the first winter and the 
summer after. Earl Eric Hakonson and Svein his 
brother, and others, friends and kin of theirs, fled 
the land, and went east to Sweden to King Olaf 
the Swede, and had good welcome of him, as 
sayeth Thord Kolbeinson : 

Short while, O scathe-wolves' scatterer, 
Wore ere the land-folk's treason 
Ended the life of Hakon— 
Weird wendeth things a-many ! 
When the host fared from the Westland, 
Methinks the son of Tryggvi 
Came to the land that erewhile 
The staff of sword-fields conquered. 

And again : 

More in his heart had Eric 
Against the great wealth-waster 
Than spoken word laid open. 
As from him might be looked for. 

300 The Saga Library. LVIII 

The wrathful Earl of Thrandheim 
Sought rede of the King of Sweden ; 
Therefrom was no man running, 
But stiff-necked grew the Thrandfolk. 


THERE was one named Lodin, a wealthy- 
man of the Wick and of good kin ; he was 
oft on cheaping voyages, though whiles 
he went a-warring. 

Now on a summer Lodin was on a cheaping 
voyage aboard a ship which he owned himself, and 
had plenteous merchandise therein. He made 
for Estland, and was busied with his chaffer 
through the summer. Now amidst the market there 
were brought thither many kind of wares, and 
many thralls were brought for sale. So there saw 
Lodin a certain woman who had been sold for a 
thrall, and as he beheld her he knew that she was 
Astrid, Eric's daughter, who had been wedded to 
King Tryggvi Olafson, howsoever she were unlike 
what he had seen her aforetime, being pale now, 
and lean, and ill-clad ; so he went up to her, and 
asked her how it fared with her. She said : "It 
is a heavy tale to tell ; I am sold at thrall-cheap- 
ings.and am brought hither to be sold." Then they 
gat known to each other, and Astrid knew Lodin 
and praj'ed him therewith to buy her and have her 
home with him to her kin. 

" I will give thee a choice over that," said he ; 
" I will bring thee back to Norway if thou wilt wed 

LIX The Story of Ola f Try ggvi son. 301 

Now whereas Astrid was hard bestead, and 
that she knew withal that Lodin was a doughty 
man and of good kin, she promised him so much 
for her freeing. So Lodin bought Astrid and 
brought her to Norway, and wedded her with her 
kindred's goodwill, and their children were Thorkel 
Nefia, Ingirid, and Ingigerd ; but the daughters 
of Astrid by King Tryggvi were Ingibiorg and 
Astrid. The sons of Eric Biodaskalli were Sigurd 
Carlshead, Jostein, and Thorkel Dydrill ; these 
were all noble men and wealthy, and had manors 
in the East-country. Two brethren who dwelt 
east in the Wick, one named Thorgeir and the 
other Hyrning, wealthy men and of good kin, 
wedded the daughters of Astrid and Lodin, Ingirid 
to wit, and Ingigerd. 


king when he took christening sent bid- 
ding over all his realm that all men 
should let themselves be christened and turn to 
the right troth. He himself followed on the heels 
of that bidding, and used might and mishandling 
if otherwise men yielded not ; he sent two earls 
into Norway with a great host, Urguthriot and 
Brimilskiar by name, in order to bid christening 
there, and folk yielded readily enough in the Wick, 
where had been Harald's rule, and there were 
christened many folk of the land. But after the 
death of Harald, Svein Twibeard his son gat 

302 TJie Saga Libyayy. LIX 

speedily into wars in Saxland and Friesland, and 
at last in England. Then those men in Norway 
who had taken christening turned back again to 
blood-offering, as they had done afore, and after 
the fashion of them of the North-country. 

But when Olaf Tryggvison was become king in 
Norway he abode a long while of summer in the 
Wick. Many of his kin came to him there, and 
some who were allied to him ; and many there 
were who had been great friends of his father ; 
and there was he welcomed with very great love. 

So then Olaf called to speech with him his 
mother's brethren, Lodin his stepfather, and the 
sons-in-law of him, Thorgeir and Hyrning. Then 
he laid this matter most earnestly before them, 
craving that they should undertake it with him, 
and afterwards back it with all their might, to wit, 
that he will have the Christian faith set forth 
throughout all his realm. He saith that he will brinof 
about the christening of all Norway, or die else : 
" But I will make you all great men and mighty, 
because I trust in you best of all, for kinship sake, 
and other ties." 

So they all accorded to this, to do whatso he 
bade them, and to follow him herein whither he 
would, and all those men who would do after their 

So straightway King Olaf lay bare before all 
the people that he would bid all men throughout his 
realm be christened. They first assented to these 
commands who had afore pledged themselves, 
who were all the mightiest of those men who 
dwelt thereabout, and all others did according to 

LX TJie Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 303 

their example. So then east in the Wick were all 
men christened. 

Then fared the king into the north parts of the 
Wick, and bade all men take christening ; but 
those who gainsaid him he mishandled sorely. 
Some he slew, some he maimed, some he drave 
away from the land. 

So it came to pass that all through the realm of 
Tryggvi his father, and the realm that Harald the 
Grenlander, his kinsman, had held, folk gave them- 
selves up to be christened according to the bidding 
of King Olaf; and that summer and the winter 
after was all the Wick christened. 


EARLY in spring-tide was Olaf stirring in 
the Wick with a great host, and so fared 
north into Agdir ; and wheresoever he 
came he called a Thing of the bonders and bade 
all men be christened. So men come under the 
faith of Christ, for there was none of the bonders 
might rise up against the king, and the folk were 
christened wheresoever he came. 

Men there were in Hordland, many and noble, 
come of the kin of Horda Kari. He had had 
four sons : first, Thorleif the Sage ; then Ogmund, 
father of Thorolf Skialg, who was the father of 
Erling of Soli ; thirdly, Thord, the father of 
Klypp the Hersir, who slew Sigurd Slaver, the 
son of Gunnhild ; fourthly, Olmod, the father of 
Askel, the father of Aslak Pate a-Fitiar. And this 

304 The Saga Library. LXI 

stock was the most and the noblest of Herd- 

Now when these kinsmen heard of these troublous 
tidings, how the king was coming from the east 
along the land with a great host, and was bringing 
to nought the ancient laws of the people, and that 
all who gainsaid him must abide penalties and 
torments, then gathered these kinsmen together 
among themselves, that they might look to it, for 
they wotted well that the king would soon be upon 
them. So it seemed good to them to meet all toge- 
ther well accompanied at the Gula-Thing, and have 
there a summoning to meet King Olaf Tryggvison. 


KING OLAF summoned a Thing so soon 
as he came into Rogaland ; and when the 
bidding thereto came to the bonders they 
gathered all together, a many people, and all armed. 
And when they were met they fell to talking the 
matter over, and appointed three men, the fairest 
of speech in their company, to answer King Olaf 
at the Thing, and speak against him, and say that 
they would not submit themselves to any lawless 
ways howsoever the king might bid them. But 
when the bonders came to the Thing, and the 
Thing was established, then stood up King Olaf 
and spake to the bonders in kindly wise at the 
first ; albeit it might be seen in his words that he 
would have them take christening. This with fair 
words he bade them ; but in the end was this 

LX I The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 305 

added against such as gainsaid him, and would 
not obey his bidding, that they shall abye his 
wrath, and punishment from him, and heavy ruin, 
wheresoever he might bring it about. 

But when he had made an end of his speaking, 
then stood up he of the bonders who was the 
fairest spoken of them all, and at the outset had 
been chosen for that end that he might answer 
King Olaf; but lo, now when he would speak he 
fell a-coughing and choking so that no word would 
out of him, and down he sat again. Then arose 
the second bonder, and will nowise let his answer 
fall dead, howsoever ill the first hath sped ; but 
when he beofan his talk such stammerinof fell on 
him that not a word would win out ; and all fell 
a-laughing who heard, and down sat the bonder. 

Yet arose the third and would say his say 
against King Olaf; but when he fell to speech he 
was so hoarse and husky that no man heard what 
he was a-saying, and down he sat again. 

And so there was none left of the bonders to 
speak against the king ; and whereas the bonders 
might get none to answer the king, none uprose to 
withstand him, and so it came about that they all 
accorded to the king's command, and the whole 
Thing-folk was christened or ever the king went 
his ways thence. 


3o6 The Saga Library. LXII 


NOW King Olaf made with his folk to the 
Gula-Thing, because the bonders had 
sent him word that they would give 
answer to his matter thereat. But when either 
side was come to the Thing, then would the king 
first of all have speech with the lords of the land. 
But when they were all come together, the king 
set forth his errand, bidding them take christening 
according to his command. 

Then spake Olmod the Old : "W^e kinsmen 
have taken counsel together about this matter, and 
will be all of one consent herein. For if thou, king, 
art minded to drive us kinsfolk into such matters 
by torments, and wilt break down our laws, and 
wilt break down us beneath thee by mastery, then 
will we withstand thee to the uttermost of our 
might, and let him prevail who is fated thereto. 
But if, on the other hand, king, thou wilt speed us 
kinsfolk somewhat, then mayst thou bring it so 
well about, that we shall all turn to thee with hearty 

The king saith : " What will ye ask of me to the 
end that the peace betwixt us be of the best ? " 

Answereth Olmod : " First of all, whether wilt 
thou wed Astrid thy sister to Erling Skialgson our 
kinsman, whom we now account the likeliest of all 
young men of Norway ? " 

King Olaf saith that himseemeth the wedding 
would be good, whereas Erling is of high kin, and 
the goodliest of men to look on ; yet saith he that 

LXIII The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 307 

Astrid must have a word in the matter. So the 
king- laid the matter before his sister. 

" Little avails it me," said she, " that I am a 
king's daughter and a king's sister, if I am to be 
given to a man without title of dignity. Liefer 
were I to abide a few winters for another wooing." 

And therewith they left talking for that while. 


BUT the king let take a hawk of Astrid's 
and pluck off all the feathers of it, and then 
sent it to her. 

Said Astrid : " Wroth is my brother now." 

And she arose and went to the king, and he 
gave her good welcome. Then spake Astrid and 
said that she would have the king deal with her 
matter according to his will. 

" I was a-thinking," said the king, " that I had 
so much power in the land as to make what man 
I would a man of dignity." 

Then let the king call Olmod and Erling and 
all the kin of them to talk with him ; and the 
wooing was talked over, with such end that Astrid 
was betrothed to Erling. 

Then let the king set a Thing on foot, and bade 
the bonders be christened ; and now were Olmod 
and Erling leaders in pushing forward this matter 
for the king, and all their kindred to boot ; nor 
had any boldness to gainsay it, and all that folk 
was christened. 

3o8 The Saga Library. LXIV 


SO Erling Skialgson arrayed his wedding in 
the summer-tide, and thereat was a full 
many folk, and there was Olaf the King. 
Then offered the king an earldom to Erling, 
but Erling spake thus : " Hersirs have all my kin 
been, nor will I have a higher name than they ; 
but this will I take of thee, king, that thou make 
me the highest of that name here in the land." 

The king said yea thereto, and at their parting 
King Olaf gave Erling his brother-in-law dominion 
south-away from Sogn-sea and east to Lidandis- 
ness, in such wise as Harald Hairfair had given 
land to his sons, whereof is aforewrit. 


THAT same autumn King Olaf summoned 
a Thing of four counties north at Drags- 
eid of Stad ; thither were to come the 
folk of Sogn and the Firths, of South-mere and 
Raumsdale. Thither fared King Olaf with a 
great host of men that he had from the East- 
country, and the folk withal that had come to him 
out of Hordland and Rogaland. But when King 
Olaf came to the Thing, there bade he christening 
as at other places; and whereas the king had with 
him a very great host, men were adrad of him ; 
and at the end of his speaking the king bade them 
have one of two choices, either take christening or 

LXV The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 309 

make them ready for battle with him. But 
whereas the bonders saw that there was no might 
with them to fight with the king, they took such 
rede that all folk were christened. 

Then King Olaf fared with his folk into North- 
mere, and christened that country. Thence he 
sailed in to Ladir, and let break down the God- 
house there, and take all the wealth and adorn- 
ment from the God-house, and from off the gods. 
A great gold ring also he took from the door 
thereof, which Earl Hakon had let make, and 
thereafter King Olaf let burn the House. 

But when the bonders heard thereof, they sent 
forth the war-arrow over all the country-side, and 
called out an host and would go against King Olaf. 
Then King Olaf brought his folk down the firth, 
and stood north-away along the land, being 
minded for Halogaland to christen folk there. 
But when he came north to Bear-eres, then heard 
he of Halogaland that they had an host out there, 
and were minded to defend the land against the 
king. And these were the captains of that host : 
Harek of Thiotta, Thorir Hart of Vogar, and 
Eyvind Rent-cheek. So when King Olaf heard 
thereof, he turned about, and sailed south along 
the land. 

But when he came south of the Stad, he went 
more at his leisure, but yet came in the beginning 
of winter right east-away into the Wick. 

3IO The Saga Library. LXVI 


NOW Queen Sigrid of Sweden, who was 
called the Haughty, sat there on her 
manors. And that winter fared men be- 
twixt King Olaf and Queen Sigrid, whereby King 
Olaf set forth his wooina^ of her ; and she took it 
m hopeful wise, and the matter was bounden with 
troth-words. Then sent King Olaf unto Queen 
Sigrid that great gold ring which he had taken 
from the God-house door at Ladir, deeming that a 
most noble gift. But the appointed day for 
settling this matter was to be holden the next 
spring-tide at the marches of the lands amid the 

Now while the ring which King Olaf had sent 
to Queen Sigrid was being praised exceedingly of 
all men, there were with the queen her two smiths, 
brethren. These handled the ring about, and 
weighed it in their hands, and then spake a privy 
word together. So the queen called them to her, 
and asked why they mocked at the ring ; but 
they naysay that. Then she said that they must 
needs in all despite tell her what they had found. 
And they said thereon that there was false metal 
in the ring. So she let break it asunder, and lo ! 
inwardly it was but brass. Thereat was the queen 
wroth, and said that Olaf would play her false in 
more matters than this one only. 

That same winter fared King Olaf up into 
Ring-realm and christened there. 

LXVI 1 1 The Story ofOlaf Tryggvison . 3 1 1 


ASTA, Gudbrand's daughter, was speedily 
wedded after the death of Harald the 
Grenlander to a man named Sigurd Syr, 
who was king in Ring-realm. Sigurd was the son 
of Halfdan, who was the son of Sigurd a-Bush, son 
of Harald Hairfair. 

Now Olaf, the son of Asta by Harald the 
Grenlander, abode with his mother, and waxed 
up in his childhood at the house of Sigurd Syr, his 
stepfather. But when King Olaf Tryggvison 
came into Ring-realm bidding to christening, then 
Sigurd Syr let himself be christened with Asta his 
wife and Olaf her son ; and Olaf Tryggvison be- 
came gossip to Olaf Haraldson, who was then 
three winters old. Then yet again fared King 
Olaf south into the Wick, and abode there through 
the winter. And now had he been three winters 
king over Norway. 


EARLY in spring-tide went King Olaf east 
to the King's-rock to the appointed meet- 
ing with Queen Sigrid. And when they 
met they talked over that matter which had been 
set on foot in the winter-tide, to wit, how they 
would be wedded together, and things looked 
hopefully concerning it. Then spake King Olaf, 

312 The Saga Library. LXIX 

and bade Sigrid take christening, and the right- 
wise troth. But she spake thus : " I will not 
depart from the troth that I have aforetime 
holden, and all my kin before me ; yet will I not 
account it against thee, though thou trow in what- 
so God seemeth good to thee." Then waxed 
King Olaf very wroth, and spake in haste : 
" What have I to do to wed with thee, a heathen 
bitch ? " and smote her in the face with the glove 
he was a-holding. 

Therewith he arose, and she too ; and Sigrid 
said. " This may well be the bane of thee ! " 

Then they departed, and the king went north 
into the Wick, but the queen east into the Swede- 


THEN fared King Olaf to Tunsberg, and 
again held a Thing there, and gave out 
thereat that all such as were known and 
proven to deal with witchcraft and spellwork, and 
all wizards, should get them gone from the land. 
Then let the king ransack for those men about the 
steads that were hard by, and bid them all to him. 
And when they came there, among them was a 
man named Eyvind Well-spring, who was the son's 
son of Rognvald Straight-leg, the son of King 
Harald Hairfair. Now Eyvind was a spellworker, 
and wise above all. Now King Olaf let marshal 
these men in a certain hall, and let array it well, 
and made them a feast therein, and gave them 

LXX The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 313 

strong drink. But when they were drunken the 
king let lay fire in the hall, and the hall burned up 
with all them that were therein, save Eyvind 
Well-spring, who got out by the luffer, and so 
away thence. 

And when he was gotten a long way oft', he met 
men on his road, and bade them tell the king that 
Eyvind Well-spring was gotten away from the 
fire, and would never come again into the power 
of King Olaf, but would fare in the same wise as 
he had heretofore in all his cunning. So when 
these men met King Olaf, they told him even as 
Eyvind had bidden them. And the king was ill 
content that Eyvind was not dead. 


"T 'T THEN spring-tide was come King Olaf 
\ /\ / fared out along the Wick, and guested 

V V at his great manors, and sent word 
throughout all the Wick that he would have an 
host out in the summer-tide to fare into the North- 
country. Then wended he north to Agdir ; but 
when Lent was well worn, stood north again for 
Rogaland, and came at Easter-eve to Ogvalds- 
ness in Kormt-isle. And there was his Easter-feast 
arrayed for him, and he had hard on three hundred 

That same night made land at the isle Eyvind 
Well-spring, with a long-shi^D all manned, and the 
crew were all spell-singers or other wizard-folk. 
So Eyvind went up aland with his company, and 

314 The Saga Library. LXXI 

they wrought hard at their wizardry, and made 
wrapping of dimness, and thick darkness so great 
that the king might not get to see them. But 
when they were come hard by the stead at 
Ogvaldsness the day waxed bright there, and all 
went clean contrary to Eyvind's mind, for the 
mirk he had made by wizardry fell upon him 
and his fellows, so that they might see no more 
with their eyes than with their polls, and kept 
going all round and round about. But the king's 
warders saw where they went, and wotted not 
what folk they were. So the king was told 
thereof, and he arose and clad himself and all his 
folk. And when he saw where Eyvind and his 
folk fared, he bade his men arm them, and go see 
what manner of men these would be. But when 
the king's men knew Eyvind, they laid hands on 
him and the whole company, and brought them to 
the king. And Eyvind told all that had befallen 
in his journey. 

Then the king let take them all and bring them 
out into a tide-washed skerry, and bind them 
there. So there Eyvind and all of them lost their 
lives ; and that skerry is thenceforward called 


SO goeth the tale, that as King Olaf was feast- 
ing at Ogvaldsness, thither came on an eve 
an old man very wise of speech, with a wide 
slouched hat and one-eyed ; and that man had 

LXX I The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 3 1 5 

knowledge to tell of all lands. Now he gat into talk 
with the king, and the king deemed it good game 
of his talk, and asked him of many matters ; but 
the guest answered clearly to all his questioning, 
and the king sat long with him that evening. The 
king asked if he wotted who Ogvald had been, 
after whom that stead and ness were named. Said 
the guest that Ogvald was a king and a mighty 
warrior, who did very great sacrifices to a certain 
cow, and had her with him wheresoever he went, 
and deemed it availed him well for his health to 
drink always of her milk. Now King Ogvald 
fought with a king called Varin, and in that battle 
fell King Ogvald, and was laid in howe hard by 
the stead here, and standing-stones were set up in 
remembrance of him, even those that yet stand 
hereby ; but in another place a little way hence 
was the cow laid in howe. 

Such things he told of, and many other matters 
of kincjs and the tidinjjs of old. 

But when the night was far spent, the bishop 
called to the king's mind that it was time to go to 
sleep, and the king did after his words. But 
when he was unclad and laid in his bed, then sat 
the guest down on the foot-board of his bed and 
talked yet a long while with the king ; and ever 
when one word was done deemed the king that he 
lacked another. Then spake the bishop to the 
king, saying that it was time to sleep ; so the 
king did according to his word, and the guest went 
out. A little after the king awoke and asked after 
the guest, and bade call him to him, but nowhere 
might the guest be found. But the next morning 

3i6 The Saga Library. LXXII 

the king let call to him his cook, and him who 
had the keeping of his drink, and asked if any 
strange man had come to them. They said that 
as they were getting ready the meat there came to 
them a certain man, and said that wondrous ill 
flesh-meat were they seething for the king's table, 
and therewith he gave them two sides of neat 
both thick and fat, and they seethed them with 
the other flesh-meat. 

Then sayeth the king that all that victual shall 
be wasted, saying that this will have been no man, 
but Odin rather, he whom heathen men have long 
trowed in. " But," said he, " in no wise shall Odin 
beguile us." 


KING OLAF drew together much people 
from the East-country that summer, and 
brought his host north-away to Thrand- 
heim, and stood up first to Nidaros. Then he let 
wend the Thing-bidding throughout all the firth, 
and summoned a Thing of eight folks at Frosta ; 
but the bonders turned this Thing-bidding into a 
war-arrow, and drew together, both thane and 
thrall, from out all Thrandheim. 

So when the king came to the Thing, thither 
also was come the bonder-host all armed. 

Now when the Thing was established the king 
spake before his lieges and bade them take 
christening, but when he had spoken a litde 
while, the bonders cried out at him, bidding him 

LX X 1 1 1 The Story ofOlaf Tryggvisoii. 3 1 7 

hold his peace, and saying that they will fall on 
him else and drive him away : " Thus did we," 
say they, "with Hakon Athelstane's Foster-son 
whenas he bade us such-like bidding, nor do we 
account thee of more worth than him." 

So when King Olaf saw the fierce mind of the 
bonders, and withal how great an host they had, 
not to be withstood, then he turned his speech 
aside- as being of one accord with the bonders, and 
said thus : " I will that we make peace and good 
fellowship together, even as we have done afore- 
time. I will fare thither whereas ye have your 
greatest blood-offering, and behold your worship 
there. And then let us take counsel together 
concerning the worship, which we shall have, and 
be all of one accord thereover." So whereas 
the king spake softly to the bonders, their fierce 
mind was appeased, and thereafter all the talk 
went hopefully and peacefully, and at the last 
it was determined that the midsummer feast of 
offering should be holden in at Mere, and thither 
should come all lords and mighty bonders, as 
the wont was ; and King Olaf also should be 


TH E RE was one Skeggi, a rich bonder, who 
was called Iron-Skeggi, and dwelt at 
Uphowe in Yriar. Skeggi was the first 
to speak against King Olaf at the Thing, and 
above all the bonders did he speak against 
Christ's faith. 

3 1 8 The Saga Library. L X X I V 

But on the terms aforesaid came the Thing to 
an end, and the bonders fared home, but the king 
to Ladir. 


NOW King Olaf laid his ships in the Nid, 
and thirty ships he had, and a goodly host 
and great ; but the king himself was 
oftest at Ladir with the company of his court. 

But when it wore toward the time whenas the 
blood-offerino- should be at Mere, Kin^j Olaf 
made a great feast at Ladir, and sent bidding in to 
Strind and up into Gauldale, and west into 
Orkdale, and bade to him lords and other gfreat 
bonders. But when the feast was arrayed, and 
the guests were come, the first eve was the feast 
full fair and the cheer most glorious, and men 
were very drunk ; and that night slept all men in 
peace there. 

But on the morrow morn when the king was 
clad he let sing mass before him, and when the 
mass was ended the king let blow up for a House- 
Thing. And all his men went from the ships 
therewith and came to the Thing. But when the 
Thing was established the king stood up and 
spake in these words : " A Thing we held up at 
Frosta, and thereat I bade the bonders be chris- 
tened ; and they bade me back again turn me to 
offering with them, even as King Hakon Athel- 
stane's Foster-son did. Wherefore we accorded 
together to meet up at Mere, and there make a 
great blood-offering. But look ye, if I turn me 

LXXV The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 319 

to offering with you, then will I make the greatest 
blood-offering that is, and will offer up men ; yea, 
and neither will I choose hereto thralls and 
evildoers ; but rather will I choose gifts for the 
gods the noblest of men ; and hereto I name 
Worm Lygra of Middlehouse, Styrkar of Gimsar, 
Kar of Griting, Asbiorn Thorbergson of Varness, 
Worm of Lioxa, Haldor of Skerding-stithy." 

Other five he named withal, the noblest that 
were, and saith that these will he offer up for 
peace and the plenty of the year, and biddeth 
fall on them forthwith. 

But when the bonders saw that they lacked 
might to meet the king, they craved peace, and 
gave up the whole matter for the king's might to 
deal with. So it was agreed on betwixt them 
that all the bonders who were there come should 
let themselves be christened, and make oath to the 
king to hold the true faith, and lay aside all 
blood-offering. And all these men did the king 
keep for guests till they gave him hostage, son, or 
brother, or other near kinsman. 


NOW King Olaf fared with all his host 
in to Thrandheim, but when he came 
up to Mere, thither were come all the 
lords of Thrandheim, such as most withstood 
christening, and these had with them all the 
mighty bonders who had aforetime upheld the sacri- 
fices in that place. Great was the concourse of 

320 The Saga Library. LXXVI 

men even as was wont to be, and after the manner 
of what had been aforetime at the Frosta-Thing. 

So let the king cry the Thing ; and thither 
went both sides all-armed. But when the Thing 
was set up, then spake the king, and bade men 

Then Iron-Skeggi answered the king on behoof 
of the bonders, and said they would no whit more 
than aforetime that the king should break down 
their laws on them. " We will, king," quoth he, 
" that thou make offering here as other kings have 
done before thee." 

At this his speaking made the bonders great 
stir, and said that even as Skeggi spake would 
they have it all. Then answered the king saying 
that he would fare into the God-house with them, 
and look at the worship whenas they made offering. 
The bonders were well pleased thereat, and either 
side fareth to the God-house. 


SO now King Olaf went into the God-house, 
and a certain few of his men with him, and a 
certain few of the bonders. But when the 
king came whereas the gods were, there sat Thor 
the most honoured of all the gods, adorned with 
gold and silver. Then King Olaf hove up the 
eold-wrou^ht rod that he had in his hand, and 
smote Thor that he fell down from the stall ; and 
therewith ran forth all the king's men and tumbled 
down all the gods from their stalls. But whiles 

LXXVII The Story of Ola f Try ggvison. 321 

the king was in the God-house was Iron-Si<eggi 
slain without, even at the very door, and that deed 
did the king's men. 

So when the king was come back to his folk he 
bade the bonders take one of two things, either all 
be christened, or else abide the brunt of battle with 
him. But after the death of Skeggi there was no 
leader among the folk of the bonders to raise up 
the banner against King; Olaf. So was the choice 
taken of them to go to the king and obey his bid- 
ding. Then let King Olaf christen all folk that 
were there, and took hostages of the bonders that 
they would hold to their christening. 

Thereafter King Olaf caused men of his wend 
over all parts of Thrandheim ; and now spake no 
man against the faith of Christ. And so were 
all folk christened in the country-side of Thrand- 


KING OLAF brought his host out to 
Nidoyce, and there let he raise up a 
house on the N id-bank, and so ordered 
it that there should be a cheaping-stead, and gave 
men tofts there whereon to build them houses ; 
but he himself let build the king's house up above 
Ship-crook. Thither let he flit in the autumn-tide 
all goods that were needed for winter abode, and 
there had he a full many men. 


322 The Saga Library. LXXVIII 


NOW King Olaf appointed a day of meet- 
ing with the kin of Iron-Skeggi, and 
offered them atonement thereat ; and 
many noble men had the answering thereof. Iron- 
Skeggi had a daughter named Gudrun ; and so it 
befell at last amid their peace-making that King 
Olaf should wed Gudrun. 

But the very first night they lay together, so 
soon as the king was fallen asleep, she drew a 
knife and would thrust him through. But when 
the king was ware of it he took the knife from 
her, and leapt up from the bed, and went to his 
men and told them what had betid. Gudrun also 
took her raiment and all those men who had fol- 
lowed her thither, and they went on their way, 
and Gudrun never came again into the same bed 
with King Olaf 


THAT same autumn let King Olaf build a 
great long-ship on the beach of the Nid. 
A cutter was this, and many smiths he 
had at the building of it. But in the beginning of 
winter, when it was fully done, thirty benches 
of oars might be told in it ; high in the stem it was, 
but nothing broad of beam. That ship the king 
called the Crane. 

After the slaying of Iron-Skeggi his body was 

LXXX The Story of Ola f Tryggvison. 323 

brought out to Yriar, and he Heth in Skeggi's- 
howe by Eastairt. 


NOW whenas Olaf Tryggvison had been 
king over Norway two winters, there was 
with him a Saxon priest named Thang- 
brand ; masterful was he and murderous, but a good 
clerk and a doughty man. Now whereas he was 
so headstrong a man, the king would not have him 
with him ; but sent him on this message, to wit, to 
fare out to Iceland and christen the land there. So 
a merchant-ship was gotten for him, and the tale 
telleth about his journey that he made the East- 
firths of Iceland, Swanfirth the southmost to wit, 
and the winter after abode with Hall of the Side. 

SoThangbrand preached christening in Iceland, 
and after his words Hall let himself be christened 
and all his household, and many other chieftains 
also ; notwithstanding many more there were who 
gainsaid him. 

Thorvald the Guileful and Winterlid the Skald 
made a scurvy rime about Thangbrand, but he slew 
them both. Thangbrand abode three winters in 
Iceland, and was the bane of three men or ever he 
departed thence. 

324 The Saga L ibra ry. L X X X I 


TWO men there were, one named Sigurd 
and the other Hawk ; Halogalanders of 
kin were they, and had been much busied 
in chaffering voyages. On a summer they had fared 
west to England, and when they came back to 
Norway they sailed north along the land. But in 
North-mere they fell in with the fleet of King 
Olaf ; and when the king was told that thither were 
come certain men, Halogalanders and heathen, he 
let call the skippers to him, and asked if they 
would let themselves be christened ; but they gain- 
said it. Then the king would talk them over in 
many wise, and prevailed nought. So he threatened 
them with death or maiming ; but nought for that 
would they shift about. So he let set them in 
irons, and they were with him a certain while 
holden in fetters ; and the king often talked with 
them, but it was but labour lost. And on a certain 
night they vanished away so that none heard aught 
of them, or knew in what wise they had gotten 
away. But in the autumn-tide they turned up in 
the North-country with Harek of Thiotta, who 
gave them good welcome, and they abode the 
winter with him in good entertainment. 

LXXXII The Story of OlafTryggtiison. 325 


NOW on a fair day of spring-tide was Harek 
at home and few men with him at the 
stead, and the time hung heavy on his 
hands. So Sigurd spake to him, saying that if he 
will they will go a-rowing somewhither for their 
disport. That liked Harek well; so they go down 
to the strand, and launch a six-oarer, and Sigurd 
took from the boathouse sail and gear that went 
with the craft ; for such-wise oft they fared to take 
the sail with them when they rowed for their disport. 
Then Harek went aboard the boat and shipped 
the rudder. The brethren Sigurd and Hawk went 
with all weapons, even as they were ever wont to 
go with the goodman at home ; and they were both 
men of the strongest. 

Now before they went aboard the craft they 
cast into her a butter-keg and a bread-basket, 
and bare between them a beer-cask down to the 
boat. Then they rowed away from land ; but 
when they were come a little way from the isle, 
then the brethren hoisted sail and Harek steered, 
and they speedily made way from the isle. Then 
went the brethren aft to where Harek sat, and 
Sigurd spake : " Now shalt thou make thy choice 
of certain things : the first is that thou let us 
brethren be masters of our voyage, and the course 
of it ; the second, that thou let us bind thee ; and 
the third, forsooth, that we slay thee." 

Now Harek saw in what a plight he was, being 
no more than a match for either of the brethren, 

326 The Saga Library. LXXXII 

even were he arrayed as well as they ; so he made 
that choice which seemed to him the best of a bad 
business, to wit, to let them be masters of the 
voyage. So he bound himself with oaths thereto, 
and gave them his troth ; and Sigurd went to the 
rudder, and they stood south along the land. The 
brethren took heed that they should meet no man, 
and the wind was of the fairest. So they made no 
stay till they came south to Thrandheim, and into 
Nidoyce, and there met they King Olaf. Then 
let the king call Harek to talk with him, and bade 
him be christened ; but Harek gainsaid him. 

Hereof spake the king and Harek many days at 
whiles before many men, at whiles privily, nor 
might they be at one thereover. So in the end 
spake King Olaf to Harek : " Now shalt thou go 
thy ways home, nor will I be heavy on thee this 
time, all the more as we are nigh akin, and withal 
thou mayst say that I have gotten thee by guile. 
But know of a sooth that my mind it is to come up 
north there in the summer, and look on you Halo- 
galanders, and then shall ye wot how hard I may be 
on those that gainsay christening." 

Harek seemed well content to get away at his 
speediest this time. King Olaf gave him a good 
cutter rowing ten or twelve oars a-side ; and let 
array that ship as well as might be with all things 
needful ; and he gave Harek thirty men, all doughty 
fellows and well arrayed. 

TIte Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 327 


SO Harek of Thiotta gat him gone from the 
town at his speediest, but Hawk and Sigurd 
abode with the king, and let themselves 
both be christened. 

Harek went on his ways till he came home to 
Thiotta. Thence sent he word to his friend Eyvind 
Rent-cheek, bidding men tell him that Harek of 
Thiotta had come face to face with King Olaf, 
and had not let himself be cowed into christening ; 
and again he bade tell him that King Olaf had it 
in his heart to come on them with an host next 
summer; and saith Harek that they must look to 
it to deal warily therewith, and biddeth Eyvind 
come to meet him as soon as may be. 

But when this errand was set forth before Eyvind, 
he seeth that the need is instant to look to it that 
they be not tripped by the king. So Eyvind fared 
at his speediest in a light skiff, and but few men 
with him ; but when they came to Thiotta, Harek 
greeted him well, and straightway gat they a-talk- 
ing, Harek and Eyvind, on the other way out from 
the stead. Yet but a little while had they talked, 
ere King Olaf's men, who had followed Harek to 
the north, come upon them, and lay hands on 
Eyvind, and lead him down to the ship with them, 
and so sail away with Eyvind ; nor stayed they 
their journey till they were come to Thrandheim 
and found King Olaf in Nidoyce. Then was 
Eyvind brought to speech with King Olaf, and 
the king bade him take christening like other men ; 

328 The Saga Library. LXXXIV 

which thing Eyvind gainsaid. The king bade him 
with kind words to take christening, showing him 
many things clearly, he and the bishop also ; but 
none the more would Eyvind shift about. Then 
the king offered him gifts and great bailifries ; but 
Eyvind would none of them. Then the king 
threatened him with maiming or death ; but it 
availed nought to turn him. 

Then let the king bear in a hand-basin full of 
glowing coals and set it on Eyvind's belly, and 
presently his belly burst asunder. Then spake 
Eyvind : " Take away the basin, and I will speak 
a word before I die." Said the king : " Wilt thou 
now trow in Christ, Eyvind ? " " Nay," said he, 
" I may nowise take christening. I am a ghost 
quickened in a man's body by cunning of the Finns ; 
and my father and mother might have no child 
before that." 

Then died Eyvind, who had been the cunningest 
of wizards. 


THE spring after these things, let King 
Olaf array his ships and folk, and he him- 
self sailed the Crane ; a fair host and a 
mighty had the king. So when he was ready he 
brought his fleet out of the firth and then north of 
Byrda, and so north-away to Halogaland. And 
wheresoever he came aland, there held he a Thing 
and bade all folk thereat to take christening and 
the riijhl troth. 

LXXXV The Story of OlafTrygguison. 329 

No man durst gainsay him, and all the land was 
christened wheresoever he came. 

King Olaf took guesting at Thiotta at Harek's, 
and there was Harek christened and all his folk. 
Harek gave the king good gifts at parting, and 
became his man, and took bailifries of the king and 
the dues and rights of a lord of the land. 


RAUD the Strong was the name of a man 
who dwelt in a firth called Salpt in God- 
isle. He was very wealthy, and had 
many house-carles ; a mighty man, and there fol- 
lowed him great plenty of Finns whenso he had 
need thereof. 

Raud was busy in blood-oflerings, and full wise 
in wizardry ; he was a great friend of a man named 
afore, Thorir Hart to wit; and they were both 
great chieftains. 

Now when they heard that King Olaf was faring 
over Halogaland from the south with an host of 
men, they gathered men to them and called out 
ships, and gat a great company. 

Raud had a mighty dragon with a head all done 
with gold, a ship of thirty benches by tale, and 
great of hull withal for her length. Thorir Hart 
also had a great ship. 

So they stood south with their host to meet 
King Olaf; and when they met they joined battle 
with the king. Great was the battle, and men fell 
thick and fast ; but the slaughter began to fall on 

330 The Saga Library. LXXXV 

the Halogaland host, and their ships to be cleared ; 
and then fell fear and terror on them. Raud rowed 
out to sea with his dragon, and so let hoist sail ; 
for ever had he wind at will whithersoever he 
would sail, which thing came from his wizardry. 
But the shortest tale of Raud's journey is that he 
sailed home to God-isle. 

Thorir Hart and his folk fled in toward land, 
and leapt ashore from his ship ; but King Olaf 
followed them, he and his, and they also leapt 
ashore, and chased them and slew them. The 
king was foremost, as ever when such play was 
toward, and he saw where Thorir Hart ran, who 
was the swiftest footed of men. So the king ran 
after him, and his hound Vigi followed him. Then 
cried the king, " Vigi, take the hart ! " So Vigi ran 
forth after Thorir and was on him straightway. 
Thereon Thorir made stay and the king shot a 
spear at him. Thorir thrust with his sword at the 
hound, and gave him a great wound ; but even 
therewith flew the king's spear under Thorir's 
arm so that it stood out at the other side. So there 
Thorir ended his life, but Vigi was borne wounded 
out to the ship. 

But King Olaf gave peace to all who craved it, 
and would take christeningr. 

The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 33 1 


NOW King Olaf stood north along the land, 
christening all folk whithersoever he 
came ; but when he came north to Salpt 
he was minded to sail in up the firth to find Raud, 
but foul weather and a squally storm raged 
down the firth. So there lay the king for a week, 
and ever the same foul weather endured down 
the firth, though without was the wind blowing 
fair for sailing north along the land. So the king 
sailed north-away to Omd, and there came all folk 
under christening. Then turned the king south 
again ; but when he came south off Salpt, again 
was there a driving storm with brine spray down 
the firth ; certain nights the king lay there, and 
still was the weather the same. Then spake the 
king to Bishop Sigurd, and asked him if he knew 
of any remedy hereto, and the bishop said he 
would try it, if God would strengthen his hands to 
overcome the might of these fiends. 


SO took Bishop Sigurd all his mass-array, 
and went forth on to the prow of the king's 
ship, and let kindle the candles, and bore 
incense. Then he set up the rood in the prow 
of the ship, and read out the gospel and many 
prayers, and sprinkled holy water over all the 

332 The Saga Library. LXXXVII 

ship. Then he bade unship the tilt and row in up 
the firth. 

Then called the king to the other ships, bidding 
them all row into the firth after him. But so soon 
as they fell a-rowing of the Crane, she made way 
up into the firth, and they who rowed that ship 
felt no wind on them, and quite calm stood there 
the walled-in track behind in the ship's wake, while 
on either side thereof whirled the driving spray so 
free, that because of it the fells might not be seen. 
But in that calm rowed one ship after other ; and 
so fared they all day, and the night after, and came 
a little before daybreak to the God-isles. And 
when they came off Raud's stead, lo, there off the 
shore lay his great dragon. So King Olaf went 
straightway up to the house with his folk, and set 
on the loft wherein Raud slept, and brake open 
the door ; then men ran in, and Raud was laid 
hand on and bound, but such men as were therein 
were slain or taken. Then went men to the hall 
wherein slept Raud's house-carles ; and there some 
were slain, and some bound, and some beaten. 

Then let the king bring Raud before him, and 
he bade him be christened. " Then," said the 
king, " will I not take thy possessions from thee, 
but rather be thy friend, if thou wilt be worthy 
thereof." But Raud cried out at him, saying that 
he would never trow in Christ, and blasphemed 
much ; and the king waxed wroth, and said that 
Raud should have the worst of deaths. So he 
let take him and bind him face up to a beam, and 
let set a gag between his teeth to open the mouth 
of him ; then let the king take a ling-worm and 

The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 333 

set it to his mouth, but nowise would the worm 
enter his mouth, but shrank away whenas Raud 
blew upon him. Then let the king take a hollow 
stalk of angelica, and set it in the mouth of Raud, 
or, as some men say, it was his horn that he let set 
in his mouth ; but they laid therein the worm, and 
laid a glowing iron to the outwards thereof, so that 
the worm crawled into the mouth of Raud, and 
then into his throat, and dug out a hole in the side 
of him, and there came Raud to his ending. 

But King Olaf took there very great wealth of 
silver and gold and other chattels, weapons to wit, 
and divers kinds of dear-bought things ; and all 
those men who had served Raud the king let 
christen, or if they would not be christened he had 
them slain or tormented. There took King Olaf 
that dragon which Raud had had, and he himself 
steered it, for it was a far greater and goodlier 
ship than was the Crane. Forward on it was a 
dragon's head, but afterward a crook fashioned in 
the end as the tail of a dragon ; but either side the 
neck and all the stem were overlaid with gold. 
That ship the king called the Worm, because when 
the sail was aloft, then should that be as the wings 
of the dragon. The fairest of all Norway was 
that ship. 

Now those isles wherein Raud had dwelt were 
called Gilling and Hsering, but all the isles 
together the God-isles, and the stream to the 
north betwixt them and the mainland was called 
the God-isles' stream. All that firth King Olaf 
christened now, and then went his ways south 
along the land, and in that his journey betid many 

334 The Saga Library. LXXXVIII 

tidings told of in tale thereafter, how trolls and 
evil creatures tempted his men ; yea, whiles him- 
self even. Yet will we rather write about the 
tidings that befell when King Olaf christened 
Norway, or those other lands he brought unto 

So K ing Olaf brought his host that same autumn 
to Thrandheim, and stood in for Nidoyce, and 
there ordered his winter dwelling. 

And now will I let write next what is to tell of 
Iceland men. 


FOR that same harvest came out to Nidaros 
from Iceland Kiartan, the son of Olaf, the 
the son of Hoskuld, and the son also of 
the daughter of Eml Skallagrimson, which Kiartan 
hath been called nighabout the likeliest and good- 
liest man ever begotten in Iceland. There was 
then also Haldor, son of Gudmund of Madder- 
mead, and Kolbein, son of Thord, Prey's priest, 
the brother of Burning-Flosi ; Sverting also, son 
of Runolf the Priest ; these and many others, 
mighty and unmighty, were all heathen. 

Therewith also were come from Iceland noble 
men who had taken christening from Thangbrand, 
to wit, Gizur the White, the son of Teit Ketil- 
biorn's son, whose mother was Alof, daughter of 
Bodvar the Hersir, son of Viking-Kari ; but the 
brother of Bodvar was Sigurd, father of Eric 
Biodaskalli, the father of Astrid, mother of King 

The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 335 

Olaf. Another Icelander hight Hialti.sonof Skeggi; 
he had to wife Vilborg, daughter of Gizur the 
White. Hialti was a christened man, and King 
Olaf gave full kindly welcome to father and son- 
in-law, Gizur and Hialti, and they abode with 

Now those Iceland men who were captains of 
the ships, such of them as were heathen, sought to 
sail away, when the king was come into the town, 
for it was told them that the king would christen 
all men perforce ; but the wind was against them, 
and they were driven back under N id-holm. 
These were the captains of ships there : Thorarin 
Nefiolfson, Hallfred the Skald, son of Ottar, Brand 
the Bountiful, and Thorleik Brandson. Now it 
was told King Olaf that there lay certain ships of 
Icelanders, who were all heathen and would flee 
away from meeting the king. So he sent men to 
them forbidding them to stand out to sea, bidding 
them go lie off the town, and so did they, but 
unladed not their ships [but they cried a market, 
and held chaffer by the king's bridges. Thrice in 
the spring-tide they sought to sail away, but the 
wind never served, and they lay yet by the bridges. 

Now on a fair-weather day many men were a- 
swimming for their disport ; and one man of them 
far outdid the others in all mastery. Then spake 
Kiartanwith Hallfred the Troublous-skald bidding 
go try feats of swimming with this man, but he 
excused himself. Said Kiartan, " Then shall I 
try ; " and cast his clothes from him therewith, 
and leapt into the water, and struck out for that 
man, and caught him by the foot and drew him 

336 The Saga Library. LXXXIX 

under. Up they come, and have no word together, 
but down they go again, and are underwater much 
longer than the first time, and again come up, and 
hold their peace, and go down again the third time ; 
till Kiartan thought the game all up, but might 
nowise amend it, and now knew well the odds of 
strength betwixt them. So they are under water 
there till Kiartan is well-nigh spent ; then up they 
come and swim to land. Then asked the North- 
man what might the Icelander's name be, and 
Kiartan named himself. Said the other, " Thou 
art deft at swimming ; hast thou any mastery in 
other matters?" Said Kiartan: "Little mastery 
is this." The Northman said : "Why askest thou 
me nought again ? " Kiartan answereth : " Me- 
seemeth it is nought to me who thou art, or in 
what wise thou art named." Answered the other : 
" I will tell thee then : Here is Olaf Tryggvison." 
And therewith he asked him many things of the 
Iceland men, and lightly Kiartan told him all, and 
therewith was minded to get him away hastily. 
But the king said : " Here is a cloak which I will 
give thee, Kiartan." So Kiartan took the cloak, 
and thanked him wondrous well.] 


AND now was Michaelmas come, and the 
king let hold hightide, and sing mass full 
gloriously; and thither went the Icelanders, 
and hearken the fair song, and the voice of the 
bells. And when they came back to their ships. 

XC The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 337 

each man said how the ways of the Christian 
men hked them, and Kiartan said he was well 
pleased, but most other mocked at them. And so 
it went, as saith the saw, Ma7iy are the king s ears, 
and the king was told thereof. So forthwith on that 
same day he sent a man after Kiartan bidding him 
come to him ; and Kiartan went to the king with 
certain men, and the king greeted him well. 
Kiartan was the biggest and goodliest of men, 
and fair-spoken withal. So now when the king 
and Kiartan had taken and given some few words 
together, the king bade Kiartan take christening. 
Kiartan saith that he will not gainsay it, if he 
shall have the king's friendship therefor ; and the 
king promised him his hearty friendship ; and so 
Kiartan and he strike this bargain between them. 
The next day was Kiartan christened, and Bolli 
Thorleikson his kinsman, and all their fellows ; 
and Kiartan and Bolli were guests of the king 
whiles they wore their white weeds ; and the king 
was full kind to them, and all men accounted them 
noble men wheresoever they came. 


ON a day went the king a-walking in the 
street, and certain men met him, and 
he of them who went first greeted the 
king ; and the king asked him of his name, and 
he named himself Hallfred. 

" Art thou the skald ? " said the king. 
Said he : "I can make verses." 
lU. z 

338 The Saga Library. XC 

Then said the kingf : " Wilt thou take christen- 
ing, and become my man thereafter ? " 

Saith he : " This shall be our bargain : I will let 
myself be christened, if thou, king, be thyself my 
gossip, but from no other man will I take it." 

The king answereth : " Well, I will do that." 

So then was Hallfred christened, and the king 
himself held him at the font. 

Then the king asked of Hallfred : " Wilt thou 
now become my man ? " 

Hallfred said : " Erst was I of the body-guard 
of Earl Hakon ; nor will I now be the liege-man 
of thee nor of any other lord, but if thou give me 
thy word that for no deed I may happen to do 
thou wilt drive me away from thee." 

" From all that is told me," said the king, " thou 
art neither so wise nor so meek but it seemeth 
like enough to me that thou mayest do some deed 
or other which I may in nowise put up with." 

"Slay me then," said Hallfred. 

The king said : " Thou art a Troublous-skald ; 
but my man shalt thou be now." 

Answereth Hallfred : " What wilt thou give me, 
king, for a name-gift, if I am to be called Troub- 
lous-skald ? " 

The king gave him a sword, but no scabbard 
therewith ; and said the king : " Make us now a 
stave about the sword, and let the sword come 
into every line." 

Hallfred sangr : 


One only sword of all swords 
Hath made me now sword-wealthy. 
Now then shall things be sword-some 

XCI The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 339 

For the Niords of the sweep of sword-edge. 
Nought to the sword were lacking, 
If to that sword were scabbard 
All with the earth -bones coloured. 
Of three swords am I worthy. 

Then the king gave him the scabbard and 
said : " But there is not a sword in every Hne." 

" Yea," answers Hallfred, " but there are three 
swords in one Hne." 

"Yea, forsooth," saith the king. 

Now from Hallfrcd's sono-s we take knowledgfe 
and sooth witness from what is there told concerning 
King Olaf. 



THAT same harvest came back from Ice- 
land to King Olaf Thangbrand the mass- 
priest, and told how that his journey had 
been none of the smoothest ; for that the Icelanders 
had made scurvy rimes on him, yea, and some 
would slay him. And he said there was no hope 
that that land would ever be christened. Hereat 
was King Olaf so wood wroth that he let blow 
together all the Iceland men that were in the 
town, saying withal that he would slay them every 
one. But Kiartan and Gizur and Hialti, and 
other such as had taken christening, went to him 
and said : " Thou wilt not, king, draw back from 
that word of thine, whereby thou saidst that no 
man might do so much to anger thee, but that thou 

340 Tlie Saga Library. XCII 

wouldst forgive it him if lie cast aside heathendom 
and let himself be christened. Now will all Ice- 
land men that here are let themselves be chris- 
tened ; and we will devise somewhat whereby the 
Christian faith shall prevail in Iceland. Here are 
sons of many mighty men of Iceland, and their 
fathers will help all they may in the matter. But 
in sooth Thangbrand fared there as here with thee, 
dealing ever with masterful ways and manslaying ; 
and such things men would not bear of him." 

So the king got to hearken to these redes, and 
all men of Iceland that there were, were christened. 


KING OLAF was of all men told of the 
most of prowess in Norway in all mat- 
ters; stronger was he and nimbler than 
any, and many are the tales told hereof. One, to 
wit, how he went up the Smalshorn, and made fast 
his shield to the topmost of the peak ; and withal 
how he helped a courtman of his who had clomb 
up before him on to a sheer rock in such wise that 
he might neither get up nor down ; but the king 
went to him and bore him under his arm down 
unto a level place. 

King Olaf also would walk out-board along the 
oars of the Worm while his men were a-rowing ; 
and with three hand-saxes would he play so that 
one was ever aloft, and one hilt ever in his hand. 
He smote well alike with either hand, and shot 
with two spears at once. 

XCIV The story of Olaf Try ggvison. 341 

King Olaf was the gladdest of all men and game- 
somest. Kind he was and lowly-hearted ; exceed- 
ing eager in all matters ; bountiful of gifts ; very 
glorious of attire; before all men for high heart in 
battle. The grimmest of all men was he in his 
wrath, and marvellous pains laid he upon his foes. 
Some he burnt in thehre ; some he let wild hounds 
tear asunder ; some he stoned, or cast down from 
high rocks. Now for all these things was he well- 
beloved of his friends and dreaded of his foes. 
Full great, therefore, was his furtherance, whereas 
some did his will for love and kindness sake, and 
othersome for fear. 


LEIF, the son of Eric the Red, who first 
settled Greenland, was come this summer 
from Greenland to Norway. He went to 
King Olaf, and took christening, and abode that 
winter with King Olaf. 


NOW Gudrod, son of Eric Blood-a.xe and 
Gunnhild, had been a-warring in the West- 
lands since he fled the land before Earl 
Hakon ; but in this summer afore told of, whenas 
King Olaf Tryggvison had ruled over Norway 
four winters, then came Gudrod to Norway with 
many war-ships, and had newly sailed from Eng- 

342 The Saga Library. XCIV 

land ; but when he drew so nigh as to have inkling 
of Norway, he stood south along the land whereas 
King Olaf was least to be looked for, and sailed to 
the Wick. But so soon as he came aland, he fell 
a-harrying and beating down the people under 
him, bidding them take him for king. So when 
the folk of the land saw that a mighty host was come 
upon them, then sought men for truce and peace, 
and offered to the king to send the bidding to 
a Thing throughout the land, and would rather take 
him to jruestinsf than have to bear the war of him ; 
and therefore was there tarrying in the matter whiles 
the call to the Thing was abroad. Then craved the 
king money for his victual whiles he abode thus ; 
but the bonders chose rather to give the king 
quarters for such time as he needed ; which choice 
the king took and went guesting about the land 
with some of his folk, while some held ward over 
his ships. 

But when the brethren Hyrning and Thorgeir, 
King Olafs brothers-in-law, heard that, they 
gather folk and go a-shipboard, and so fare north 
unto the Wick, and come on a night with their 
company to where Gudrod was a-guesting ; and 
there they fell on him with fire and the sword. There 
fell King Gudrod, and the more part of his folk ; 
but they of them who had been at the ships were 
slain, some of them, and some escaped and fled 
away far and wide. And now are all the sons of 
Eric and Gunnhild dead. 

XCV The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 343 


NOW the winter that King Olaf came from 
Halogaland he let build a great ship in 
under the Ladir-cliffs, and much greater 
it was than other ships that were then in the land ; 
and yet are the slips whereon it was built left there 
for a token : seventy-and-four ells long of grass- 
lying keel was it. Thorberg Shave-hewer was the 
master-smith of that ship, but there were many 
others at the work ; some to join, some to chip, 
some to smite rivets, some to flit timbers : there 
were all matters of the choicest. Long was that 
ship, and broad of beam, high of bulwark, and 
great in the scantling. 

But now when they were gotten to the free- 
board Thorberg had some needful errand that took 
him home to his house, and he tarried there very 
long, and when he came back the bulwark was all 

Now the king went in the eventide and Thor- 
berg with him to look on the ship, and see 
how the ship showed, and every man said that 
never yet had they seen a long-ship so great 
or so goodly ; and so the king went back to 
the town. 

But early the next morning went the king and 
Thorberg again to the ship, and the smiths were 
already come thither, but there they stood doing 
nothing. The king asked them what they were 
about then ; and they said that the ship was spoilt, 
for some man or other must have gone from stem 

344 TJie Saga Library. XCV 

to stern cutting notches with an axe all along the 
gunwale one by another. So the king went thereto, 
and saw that sooth it was ; and he spake therewith, 
and swore an oath that if he mig-ht find the man 
who for envy's sake had spoilt the ship he should 
surely die. " And he who will tell me thereof shall 
have great good of me." 

Then spake Thorberg : " I might tell thee, be- 
like, king, who will have done this deed." 

Saith the king : " I might look to thee as much 
as to any man to have such good hap as to wot 
hereof and tell me." 

"Well, I will tell thee, king, who hath done it; 
I have done it." 

Answereth the king : " Then shalt thou make 
it good, so that all be as well as heretofore ; and 
thy life shall lie on it." 

So Thorberg went to the ship, and planed all 
the notches out of the gunwale ; and thereon said 
the king and all others that the ship was much 
fairer on that board where Thorberg had cut it ; 
and the king bade him fashion it so on either 
board, and bade him have much thank for it all. 

So thereafter was Thorberg master-smith of the 
ship until it was done. 

This ship was a dragon, and was wrought after 
the fashion of the Worm, that ship which the king 
had gotten in Halogaland, but bigger it was and 
more excellent in all wise ; and he called it the 
Long Worm, but the other the Short Worm. 

On this Worm were there thirty-and-four 
benches of oars. The head and the crooked tail of 
it were all done over with gold, and the bulwarks 

XCVI The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 345 

were as high as in a ship built for sailing the main 
sea. The best wrought and the most costly 
was that ship of any that have been in Norway. 


NOW Earl Eric Hakonson and his 
brethren, and many other noble kinsmen 
of theirs, had fled away from the land 
after the fall of Earl Hakon. Earl Eric fared east 
into Sweden to Olaf the Swede-king, and had 
good welcome of him, he and his ; and King Olaf 
gave the earl a land of peace there, and great grants 
to sustain himself and his folk. Hereof telleth 
Thord Kolbeinson : 

Short while, O scathe-wolves' scatterer, 
Wore ere the land-folk's treason 
Ended the life of Hakon — 
Weird wendeth things a-many ! 
When the host fared from the Westland, 
Methinks the son of Tryggvi 
Came to the land that erewhile 
The staff of sword-fields con(|uered. 

More in his heart had Eric 
Against the great wealth-waster 
Than spoken word laid open, 
As from him might be looked for. 
The wrathful Earl of Thrandheim 
Sought rede of the King of Sweden ; 
Therefore no man forsook him. 
Stiff-necked then grew the Thrandfolk. 

Much folk resorted from Norway to Earl Eric, 
who had fled away from the land before King 
Olaf Tryggvison. So Earl Eric took such rede 

34^ Tlie Saga Library. XCVI 

that he gat him a-shipboard and went a-warring 
to gather wealth for him and his men. First he 
made for Gothland, and lay off there long in the 
summer season, waylaying ships of chapmen who 
sailed toward the land, or of the vikings else ; 
and whiles he went aland and harried there wide 
about the borders of the sea. So it is said in 
Banda-drapa : 

The Lord renowned thereafter 
Won mail-storms more a-many. 
That have we learned aforetime ; 
The spear-storm bounteous Eric . . . 
When wrought he Vali's storm-wreath 
Of the hawks of the strand of Virvil 
About wide-harried Gothland. 
To him, and fight-gay wages . . . 

Then sailed Earl Eric south to Wendland, and 
fell in there off Staur with certain viking-ships, and 
joined battle with them. There won Earl Eric 
the victory and slew the vikings ; as is said in 
Banda-drapa : 

The steerer of the stem-steed 
At Staur let heads of men lie, 
The Lord such deed he fashioned. 
The earl his ^cHirs and swayeth . . . 
So then the scalp of vikings 
The wound-mew tore by sea-beach. 
There at the hard swords' meeting. 
The land by gods safe-guarded. 

XCVII The story of Olaf Tryggvison. 347 


THEN sailed Earl Eric back to Sweden in 
harvest-tide and abode there another win- 
ter, but in spring-tide he arrayed his 
ships and sailed for the Eastlands. And when he 
came into the realm of King Valdimar he fell a- 
harrying, and slew menfolk, and burnt all before 
him, and laid waste the land ; and he came to 
Aldeigia-burg, and beset it till he won the stead. 
There he slew many folk and brake down and burnt 
all the bure, and thereafter fared wide about 
Garth-realm doing all deeds of war ; as is said in 
Banda-drapa : 

Fared thence the sea-flames' brightener 
King Valdimar's land to harry, 
All with the brand of point-storm, 
Thereat the fray grew greater. 
Men's awe, thou brok'st Aldeigia, 
And hard indeed the fight waxed, 
Betwixt the hosts thou earnest 
East unto Garths : so knew we. 

This warfare wag-ed Earl Eric for five summers 
in all ; but when he came from Garth-realm he went 
a-warring all about Adalsysla and the Isle-sysla, 
and there took he four viking-cutters of the Danes, 
and slew all the folk thereof. So saith it in Banda- 
drapa : 

Heard I where he the hardener 
Of the fire of the spear-sea 
In Isle-land sound the fray raised. 
The spear-storm hotDiteous Eric . . . 
The fight-tree, firth-flame's giver 
Cleared four ships of the Dane-folk. 

348 The Saga Library. XCVIII 

So heard we the true story. 

To him, and fight-gay wages . . . 

O heedful Niord of the launch-steed, 
With Gautland men ye battled 
When ran the yeomen townward. 
The earl his icars and svayeth . . . 
The vvar's-god wended war-shield 
Aloft all o'er the counties, 
To men the peace he minished. 
The land by gods safe-guarded. 

Earl Eric went to Denmark whenas he had 
been one winter in the Swede-reahii ; he met 
Svein Twibeard the Dane-king there, and wooed 
for himself Gyda his daughter ; which wooing 
came to wedding, and Earl Eric had Gyda to 
wife, and the next winter they had a son hight 

Earl Eric abode in Denmark in the winter, or 
whiles in the Swede-realm ; but in summer-tide he 
went a-warring. 


SVEIN TWIBEARD the Dane-king had 
to wife Gunnhild, the daughter of Burislaf, 
king of the Wends. But in these days even 
now told of it befell that Queen Gunnhild fell sick 
and died, and a little after King Svein wedded 
Sigrid the Haughty, the daughter of Skogul Tosti, 
who was the mother of Olaf the Swede, King of 
Sweden ; and with this alliance love also befell 
between the kings, and well-beloved of them both, 
and they of him, was Earl Eric Hakonson. 

XCIX The story of Olaf Tryggvison. 349 


NOW Burislaf the Wend-king laid plaint 
before Earl Sigvaldi his son-in-law, that 
the treaty was broken which Earl Sigvaldi 
had made between King Svein and King Burislaf, 
to wit, that Burislaf should wed Thyri, Harald's 
daughter, the sister of King Svein. which wedding 
had never come to pass, because Thyri had said 
nay downright to the wedding with a heathen king 
and an old man. So sayeth Burislaf now that he 
will claim the treaty's fulfilment, and bade the 
earl fare to Denmark, and have away with him 
Queen Thyri for King Burislaf's behoof 

So Earl Sigvaldi slept not over that journey, 
but fared to meet the Dane-king, and laid the matter 
before him, and in such way the word of the earl 
prevailed that King Svein delivered Thyri his sister 
into his hands; and certain women went with her, 
and her foster-father, one Ozur Agison, a wealthy 
man, and certain other men withal. It was cove- 
nanted between the king and the earl that those 
domains in Wendland which Queen Gunnhild had 
had should be for a dowry to Thyri, and other 
great possessions should she have for jointure. 

Sore greeted Thyri and went all against her 
will ; but when the earl and she came to Wendland, 
then King Burislaf arrayed the wedding and took 
to wife Queen Thyri. But now that she was come 
among heathen men she would neither take meat 
nor drink of them, and such wise went matters for 
seven nichts. 

350 The Saga Library. C 


NOW it came to pass on a certain night 
that Queen Thyri and Ozur fled away 
to the wood by night and cloud, and, 
shortly to tell of their journeying, they came to 
Denmark ; but there nowise durst Thyri abide, 
because she wotted well that if King Svein, her 
brother, heard of her being there, he would speedily 
send her back to Wendland. So they fared with 
heads all hidden until they came into Norway, and 
Thyri made no stay till she came before King 
Olaf Tryggvison. But he took them in kindly, 
and in good welcome they abode there. Thyri 
told the king all her trouble, and craved helpful 
counsel of him and a peaceful dwelling in his 
realm. A smooth-spoken woman was Thyri, and the 
king thought well of her ways, and beheld her that 
she was a fair woman ; and it came into his mind 
that this would be a good wedding for him. So 
thitherwise he turned the talk, and asketh her will 
she wed him. But whereas her fortune had fared 
in such wise, and she deemed herself right hard 
bestead, and saw on the other hand how happy a 
wedding this was, to be wedded to so noble a 
king, she bade him deal with her and her matter 
as he would. And so according to this talk King 
Olaf wedded Queen Thyri, and their wedding was 
held in harvest-tide, whenas he was come south 
from Halogaland. So King Olaf and Queen 
Thyri abode in Nidoyce that winter. 

But the next spring would Queen Thyri be oft 

C The story of Old/ Try gg7>i son. 351 

bewailing to King Olaf, and weeping sorely there- 
with, how, for as great possessions as she had in 
Wendland, here in the land had she no wealth such 
as beseemed a queen : and whiles would she pray 
the king with fair words to go get her her own. 
saying that King Burislaf was so dear a friend of 
King Olaf, that so soon as they met he would give 
over to him all that he craved. Nevertheless, all 
the friends of the king, when they heard of this 
talk, letted the king of that journey. 

Now so tells the tale, that on a day early in 
spring-tide the king was a-going down the street, 
when by the market-place a man met him with 
many angelica heads, wondrous big for that season 
of spring ; so the king took a great stem of ange- 
lica in his hand, and went home therewith to the 
lodging of Queen Thyri. 

Now Thyri sat a-weeping in her hall when the 
king came in ; but he spake : " See here the big 
angelica I give thee." 

But she thrust it aside with her hand, and spake : 
" Harald Gormson was wont to give me greater 
gifts ; and moreover he feared less than thou dost 
now, to fare from the land and seek his own ; as was 
well seen of him when he came hither into Norway 
and laid waste the more part of this land, and won 
to him all the scat and dues thereof ; whereas thou 
durst not wend through the Dane- realm for fear of 
King Svein my brother." Then up sprang King 
Olaf at that word of hers, and spake out on high, 
and sware an oath, saying : " Never shall I fare in 
fear for King Svein thy brother. Nay, and if we 
meet, he it is shall give aback ! " 

352 The Saga Library. CI-CII 



O a little hereafter King Olaf summoned a 
Thing there in the town, whereat he set 
forth before all the people that he would 
have an host put off the land that summer, and 
would have a levy from every folk-land, both of 
men and ships ; and therewithal he sayeth how 
many ships he will have thence from out the firth. 
Then sendeth he messengers north and south 
along the land, by the outer and the inner ways, 
and let call out his folk. 

Therewith let King Olaf thrust forth the Long 
Worm, and all his other ships both great and small ; 
and he himself steered the Long Worm. 

But when men were dight to go aboard ship, so 
well arrayed and chosen was his company, that 
none should be aboard the Long Worm older than 
sixty or younger than twenty, and full closely were 
they chosen both for strength and stoutness of 
heart ; and the first set aside thereto were those of 
the body-guard of King Olaf, for these were chosen 
from all that was strongest and stoutest, both of folk 
of the land and of outlanders. 


WOLF THE RED was the man hight 
who bore King Olaf's banner, and 
was in the prow of the Worm ; and 
next to him was Kolbiorn the Marshal, Thor- 

CI I Tlie Story of Olaf Ti'yggvison. 353 

stein Oxfoot also, and Vikar of Tenthland, the 
I:)rother of Arnliot Gellin. 

These were of the forecastle in the prow : Vakr 
of the Klf, son of Raumi ; Bersi the Stroncr ; 
An the Shooter of lamtland ; Thrand the Stout of 
Thelmark, and Uthyrmir his brother ; these Halo- 
.i,''alanders, to wit, Thrand Squint-eye, Ogmund 
Sandy, Lodvir the Long of Salt-wick, and Harek 
the Keen. Theseof Inner Thrandheim : Ketil the 
High, Thorfin Eisli, Howard, he and his brethren 
of Orkdale. 

These manned the forehold : Biorn of Studla ; 
Bork of the Firths ; Thorgrim, son of Thiodolf of 
Hvin ; Asbiorn and Worm ; Thord of Niordlow ; 
Thorstein the White of Oprustead ; Arnor the 
M ere- man ; Hallstein and Hawk of the Firths; 
Eyvind the Snake; Bergthor Bestill ; Hallkel of 
Fialir ; Olaf the Lad ; Arnfinn of Sogn ; Sigurd 
Bill ; Einar of Hordland and Finn ; Ketil of 
Rogaland ; Griotgard the Brisk. 

These were in the main-hold : Einar Thambar- 
skelvir, deemed indeed by the others not able- 
bodied, whereas he was but eighteen winters old ; 
Thorstein Hlifarson ; Thorolf ; Ivar Smetta ; Worm 
Shaw-neb, and many other right noble men withal 
were on the Worm, though nought can we name 
them. Eight men there were to a half-berth in the 
Worm, all chosen man by man. Thirty there were 
in the fore-hold. 

The talk of men it was that the crew of the 
Worm no less bore away the bell from other men 
for goodliness and might and stout heart, than did 
the Long Worm from other ships. 

III. .\ .\ 

354 TJie Saga Library. CI II 

Thorkel Nosy, the king's brother, steered the 
Short Worm, and Thorkel Dydril and Jostein, 
the mother's brothers of the king, had the Crane ; 
and either ship was full well manned. Eleven 
great ships had King Olaf from Thrandheim, and 
twenty-banked ships, moreover, and smaller ships, 
and victuallers. 


NOW when King Olaf had wellnigh ar- 
rayed his host for sailing from Nidoyce, 
he appointed men throughout all Thrand- 
heim to the stewardships and bailifries. Then sent 
he to Iceland Gizur the White and Hiaiti Skeggi- 
son to bid christening therein, and gave them a 
priest named Thormod, and other hallowed men ; 
but he held as hostages four Iceland men such as 
he deemed the noblest, to wit, Kiartan Olafson, 
Haldor Gudmundson, Kolbein Thordson, and 
Swerting Runolfson. And now it is to be said of 
the journey of Gizur and Hiaiti, that they came to 
Iceland before the Althing and fared to the Thing, 
at which Thing was Christ's troth taken for law in 
Iceland ; and that same summer was all manfolk 
christened there. 

CIV-V The Story of Olaf Tryggvison. 355 


THAT same spring also King Olaf sent 
Leif Ericson to Greenland to bid chris- 
tening there ; so that same summer he 
went thither. He took up a ship's crew on the sea 
who had come to nought, and were lying on the 
wreck of the ship ; and in that journey found he 
Vineland the Good and came back in harvest-tide 
to Greenland, bearing with him thither a priest and 
teachers, and so went to guest with Eric his father 
at Brentlithe. Men called him thereafter Leif the 
Lucky ; but Eric his father said that one thing 
might be set against another, whereas on the one 
hand Leif had holpen that wrecked crew, and on 
the other had brought that juggler to Greenland, 
to wit, the priest. 


NOW King Olaf and Queen Thyri abode 
in Nidoyce that winter wherein the king 
had christened Halogaland ; and the 
summer before that Queen Thyri brought forth a 
man-child, begotten of King Olaf. Great was the 
lad, and of good hope, and was called Harald, 
after his mother's father. The king and the queen 
loved the lad much, and set their hearts on his 
growing up and taking the heritage of his father ; 
but he lived not a full year from the time he was 
born, and a sore scathe they both deemed it. 

356 TJic St\^a Library. CV 

That v.inter were there many Iceland men with 
King Olaf, as is afore writ, and many other noble 
men besides ; and in the court also was Ingibiorg, 
Tryggvi's daughter, the sister of King Olaf. Fair 
she was to look on, lowly of mien, and kind to all 
folk ; faithful she was, great-hearted, and full 
friendly. She loved well the Iceland men such as 
were there, but Kiartan Olafson was the dearest 
of them all to her ; for the longest of them had he 
abided with the king, and often talking to him she 
deemed a delight, for wise he was and sweet of 

King Olaf was ever glad and joyous with his 
men, and oft he turned him to asking of the ways 
and the glory of the mighty men of the realms 
aniofh, when men came to him from Sweden or 

Now Hallfred the Troublous-skald was come 
that summer from Gautland east-away there, and 
had been with Earl Rognvald Wolfson, now come 
to the dominion of West Gautland. Wolf the 
father of Rognvald was brother of Sigrid the 
Haughty, and King Olaf the Swede and Earl 
Rognvald were cousins-ofermain. Now Hallfred 
told King Olaf many things of Earl Rognvald, 
saying how that he was a brave lord and a 
masterful, bounteous of money, manly-minded, 
and friendly. Hallfred said withal that the earl 
would fain fall into friendship with King Olaf, and 
had talked over how he would be a-wooing Ingi- 
biorg, Tryggvi's daughter. And so that same 
winter came west from Gautland messengers from 
Earl Rognvald, who met King Olaf north-away in 

CV The Story of Olaf Tryggvisou. 357 

Nidoyce. There they set forth the earl's trraml 
before the king, according to the word that Hall- 
fred had spoken, to wit, that the earl was fain to be 
ver)' friend of King Olaf, and that he would speak 
of alliance with the king and would wed Ingibiorg 
his sister. Therewith the messengers brought to 
the king manifest tokens of the earl to make it 
plain that they did his errand faithfully. The 
king took their matter well, but said that Ingi- 
biorg must herself be mistress of her weddinof. 
Then talked the king this matter over with his 
sister, and asked her what her mind was herein ; 
and she answered thus : " I have abided with thee 
a while, and thou hast given me brotherly further- 
ance and loving honour in every place since thou 
camest into this land. Therefore will I say yea to 
whatso thou wilt have of me in my wedding ; yet 
indeed I look to it that thou wilt not give me to a 
heathen man." 

The king saith that so indeed it shall be, and 
therewith he had speech of the messengers ; and 
this was determined before they went their ways, 
that Earl Rognvald should come to meet King 
Olaf in the East-country that summer, if he would 
become his very friend, and then should they 
themselves talk over the matter when they met. 

So the messengers of the earl go back east on 
this errand ; but King Olaf abode that winter in 
Nidoyce with great glory and many men. 

358 The Saga Library. CVI 


THAT summer fared King Olaf with his 
host south along the land. Now there 
resorted to him many friends of his, and 
mighty men, such as were arrayed for faring with 
the king ; and the first man of all was Erling 
Skialgson, his brother-in-law, who had a great 
cutter of thirty benches, and full well manned was 
that ship. There came to him also his brethren-in- 
law, Hyrning and Thorgeir, either of them steering 
a big ship ; and many other mighty men followed 
him. Sixty long-ships had he as he fared from 
the land, and sailed south along Denmark through 
the Ere-sound, and so to Wendland. There he 
appointed a day of meeting with King Burislaf, and 
the kings met, and talked together over those 
possessions which King Olaf claimed ; and all 
went in likely wise between the kings, and the 
claims that King Olaf deemed he had there were 
brought into a fair way to be paid. So King Olaf 
abode there long that summer, and found there a 
many of his friends 


OW King Svein Twibeard had then to 

wife Sigridthe Haughty, as is afore writ. 

Sigrid was the greatest foe of King Olaf 

Tryggvison, for this cause forsooth, that King 

Olaf had broken their plighted troth and smitten 


evil The Stoyy of Olaf Tyyggvisoit. 359 

her in the face even as is afore writ. Now she 
stirred up King Svein busily to join battle with 
King Olaf Tryggvison, and said that he had 
enough against him, in that King Olaf had lain 
by Thyri his sister without the leave of him ; 
" And never would thy forefathers have borne such 

Such like words had Queen Sigrld for ever in 
her mouth, whereby at the last she brought it to 
pass that King Svein was gotten ready to do by 
her counsel. 

So early in the spring King Svein sent men 
east to Sweden to meet Olaf the Swede-king, his 
son-in-law, and Earl Eric, and he bade tell them 
that Olaf, King of Norway, had his fleet abroad, 
and was minded to fare to Wendland that summer. 
This word also went with the message of the Dane- 
king, that the Swede-king and Earl Eric should 
have out their host and go meet King Svein, and 
that all they together should go join battle with 
King Olaf Tryggvison. 

Now Olaf the Swede-king and Earl Eric were 
all ready for this journey ; so they drew together a 
great host of ships from the Swede-realm, and 
brought that host south to Denmark, but came 
thither when King Olaf Tryggvison had already 
sailed east. Hereof telleth Haldor the Un- 
christened in the song that he made on Earl Eric : 

The kings' o'er-thrower dauntless 
In gale of flame of battle 
Called out much folk from Sweden. 
The king held south to battle. 
Fattencr of carrion-hornets ! 

360 The Saga Libyayy. CVIII 

Then each and ever\' yeoman 

Was fain tu follow Eric ? 

Drink gat the wound-mew seaward. 

So the SAvede-king and Earl Eric held on to 
meet the Dane-king, and now joined all together 
they had a marvellous great host. 


NOW King Svein, when he sent for that 
host, had sent Earl Sigvaldi to Wendland 
to spy on the host and the ways of King 
Olaf Tryggvison.and to lay such a trap that King 
-Svein and his fellows might not fail to fall in with 
him. So Earl Sigvaldi went his ways, and came 
to Wendland and lomsburg, and so went to meet 
Olaf Tryggvison. So there was most friendly 
converse betwixt them, and the earl grew into the 
greatest good liking with King Olaf. Astrid, the 
wife of the earl and daughter of King Burislaf, 
was a great friend of King Olaf, which came about 
much from their former ties, whereas King Olaf 
had wedded Geira her sister. 

Now Earl Sigvaldi was a wise man and a shifty, 
and when he was gotten into the privity of King 
Olaf 's counsel, he ever held him back from sailing 
from the east, and found hereunto, now one thing, 
now another. But King Olaf's folk took it mar- 
vellous ill, being waxen very homesick as they lay 
all dight for sailing and the weather boding fair 

Meanwhile Earl Sigvaldi had privy tidings from 

CI X The Sfoiy of Olaf Tryggvisoii. 36 1 

Uenmark that the host of the Swede-king was now 
come from the east, and that Earl Eric also had 
arrayed his host, and that these lords would now 
be coming east under Wendland, and had appointed 
to waylay King Olaf by an isle called Svoldr ; so 
that it behoved the earl to bring it so about that 
they might fall in with King Olaf there. 



ND now it got whispered about in Wend- 
land that Svein the Dane-king had an host 
abroad, and speedily arose the rumour 
that King Svein would meet King Olaf; but Earl 
Sigvaldi saith to the king: " It will be no rede for 
King Svein to join battle with thee with the Dane- 
host only, so great an host as thou hast gotten ; 
but if thou misdoubt at all that war besetteth thy 
way, then will I be of thy company with my folk, 
and time has been when the following of the 
Vikings of lomsburg has been deemed of good 
avail for a lord : lo, I will get thee eleven ships 
well manned." The king said yea thereto ; the 
wind blew light and handy for sailing : so the king 
let weigh anchor and blow for departing. Then 
men hoisted sail, and all the small ships made the 
more way, and sailed away right out to sea. 

Now the earl sailed hard by the king's ship, and 
called out to them, bidding the king sail after him. 
" Full well I know," said he, "where are the deepest 
of the sounds betwixt the isles, and this will ye 
need for your big ships." 

362 The Saga Librai'y. CX 

So the earl sailed on before with his ships ; eleven 
ships he had ; and the king sailed after him with 
his big ships, and he too had eleven there ; but all 
the rest of the host sailed out to sea. 

Now when Earl Sigvaldi was come sailing off 
Svoldr by the west, a skiff rowed off to meet him, 
and they told him that the host of the Dane-king 
lay awaiting them in the haven there. Then let the 
earl strike sail and row in under the isle. So 
sayeth Haldor the Unchristened : 

From the south came the king of the isle-folk 
With ships one more than seventy, 
The meet-stem of the wave-steed, 
He reddened sword in the murder. 
Whenas the earl had ordered 
The sea's knop-crownfed reindeer 
For a war-mote with the Scanings, 
Men's peace it flew asunder. 

Herein is it said that King Olaf and Earl 
Sigvaldi had seventy ships and one whenas they 
sailed from the south. 


NOW Svein the Dane-king and Olaf the 
Swede-king were there with all their 
host : fair weather it was, and bright 
shone the sun. So all the lords went up on to the 
holm with a great company of men, and they saw 
how a many ships together went sailing out to 
sea ; and now see they where saileth a great ship 
and a brave. Then spake both the kings and 
said : " Yonder is a great ship and marvellous fair; 

ex The Story of Ola f Tryggvison. 363 

this will be the Long Worm." But Earl Eric 
answered and said : " Nay, this will not be the 
Long Worm." 

And so it was as he said, for this ship was of 
Eindrid of Gimsar. 

A little thereafter they saw where another ship 
came sailing much greater than the first. Then 
spake King Svein : " Now is Olaf Tryggvison 
afeard, and durst not sail with the head on his ship." 
Then saith Earl Eric : " This is not the king's 
ship, for I know it, ship and striped sail. Erling 
Skialgson owneth it. Let these sail on ! for better 
for us shall be that rent and lacking in King Olaf's 
fleet than that yonder ship be there, so well 
arrayed as it is." 

But a while after saw they, and knew Earl Sig- 
valdi's ships that turned them toward the holm. 

Then saw they where three ships came sailing, 
and one was great. Then spake King Svein, and 
bade go a-shipboard, for that there came the Long 
Worm. Then said Earl Eric : " Many other 
great ships and glorious have they, beside the 
Long Worm ; bide we a while ! " 

Then gat many men a-talking, and said : " Earl 
Eric will not fight then, and avenge his father. 
Great shame is this, to be told of through all lands, 
if we lie here with this so great an host, and King 
Olaf saileth out to sea, out here past our very 

But when they had talked this wise awhile, saw 
they where four ships came a-sailing, and one of 
them was a dragon full great all done about with 
gold. Then up stood King Svein and spake on 

364 The Saga Library. CX 

high : " This night shall the Worm bear me, and 
I will steer her. And many men said withal that 
the Worm was a wondrous great ship and goodly, 
and great glory it was to let build such a ship. 

But Earl Eric said so that certain men heard 
him : " If King Olaf had no bigger ship than that 
one alone, yet should King Svein never get it from 
him with the Dane-host only." 

Then drew the folk toward the ships, and struck 
the tilts, and were minded to dight them speedily. 

But while the lords were so speaking together, 
they saw where came three full mighty ships 
a-sailing, and a fourth last of all, and lo ! it was 
the Long Worm. 

But those great ships which had sailed by afore, 
and they deemed had been the Worm, were the 
first the Crane, and the last the Short Worm. 

But now when they saw the Long Worm all 
knew her, and none had a word to say against it 
that there was sailing Olaf Tryggvison, and they 
went to their ships and arrayed them for onset. 

This was the privy bargain struck between the 
chieftains. King Svein, to wit. King Olaf, and 
Earl Eric, that each should have his own third 
share of Norway if they laid low Olaf Tryggvison ; 
but whoso first went up on the Worm should have 
all the prey to be gotten thereon, and each should 
have such ships as himself cleared. 

Earl Eric had a beaked ship wondrous great, 
wherewith he was wont to sail a-warring ; and a 
beard there was on either side the prow thereof, and 
thick staves of iron down from thence all the breadth 
of the beard, and going down to the water-line. 

CXI The Story of Olaf Tryggi'isou. 365 


NOW when Earl Sigvaldi and his folk 
rowed in under the hohn, that saw 
Thorkel Dydril from the Crane and the 
other captains who went with him, how the earl 
turned his ships under the holm ; so they struck sail 
and rowed after them, and hailing them, asked why 
they fared so. The earl said that he would lie-to for 
KingOlaf : " For it looketh like that warawaitethus." 
So they let their ships drift till Thorkel Nosy 
came up in the Short Worm and the three ships 
that went with her. The same tale were they told ; 
so they too struck sail and lay-to abiding King 
Olaf. But now when the king sailed in toward 
the holm, then rowed the whole host out into the 
sound to meet them. But when men saw that, they 
bade the king sail on his way, and not join battle 
with so great an host. Then the king answered with 
a high voice, as he stood up in the poop : " Strike 
sails ! let no men of mine think of flight ! never 
have I fled from battle. Let God look to my life ! 
for never will I turn to flight." 

And so was it done as the king bade ; even as 
Hallfred sayeth : 

Still must the word be told of. 
Which, said the men foe-griping 
The king deed-mighty spake there 
To his lads at fray of weapons : 
The bower-down of Swede-ranks 
Forbade his trusty war-host 
To think of flight. The stout word 
Of the people's leader liveth. 

366 TJie Saga Library. C X 1 1-1 1 1 


SO King Olaf let blow up for the gathering 
together of all his ships ; and the king's ship 
was in the midst of his battle, but on one 
board lay the Short Worm, and the Crane on the 
other. But when they set about lashing together 
the stems of the Long Worm and the Short, and 
the king saw them at it, he cried out on high, 
bidding them lay the big ship better forward, and 
not let it hang aback behind all ships in the host. 
Then answered Wolf the Red : "If the Worm 
shall lie as far forward as she is longer than other 
ships, then there will be windy weather to-day in 
the bows." Saith the king : " I wotted not that I 
had a forecastle-man both Red and adrad." Quoth 
Wolf: "Ward thou the poop with thy back no 
more than I the bows with mine." 

Then the king caught hold of his bow, and laid 
an arrow on the string and turned it on Wolf. 

Said Wolf: " Shoot another way, king, whereas 
it will avail thee more; for thee work I that I work." 


KING OLAF stood on the poop of the 
Worm and showed high up aloft: a for- 
gilded shield he had and a gold-wrought 
helm, and was easy to know from other men : a 
short red kirtle had he over his byrny. 

Now when King Olaf saw that the hosts were 
drifting about, and the banners set up before the 

ex IV The Stoyy of Olaf Tryggvisou. 367 

captains, he asked : " Who is captain of the host 
over against us ? " So it was told him that there 
was King Svein Twibeard with the Dane-host. 

Answered the king: "Wefearnotthoseblenchers; 
in Danes there is no heart. But what captain is 
behind the banners out there on the right hand } " 

It was told him that there was King Olaf with 
the .Swede-host. Saith King Olaf: "Better were 
the Swedes to sit at home licking their blood-bowls 
than setting on the Worm under your weapons. 
But who is lord of the big ships that lie out there 
on the larboard of the Danes ? " " There is Earl 
Eric Hakonson," said they. Then answered King 
Olaf: "He will deem us well met to-day ; and we 
may look for full fierce fight from that folk, for 
they are Northmen as we be." 


THEN fell the kings to the onset, and 
King Svein laid his ship against the Long 
Worm, and King Olaf the Swede lay out- 
ward from him, and grappled from the prow the 
outermost ship of King Olaf Tryggvison, but on 
the other side lay Earl Eric. And then befell a 
hard fight. Earl Sigvaldi let hang aback with his 
ships, nor thrust into the batde. So saith Skuli 
Thorsteinson, who was with Earl Eric that day : 

The Frisian's foe I followed, 
And Sigvaldi ; young gat I 
Life-gain, where spears were singing 
(Old now do people find nie). 

368 The Saga Libra)'}'. CXV 

Where I bore reddened wound-leek 
To the mote against the meeter 
Of mail-Thing in the helm-din 
Off Svold-mouth in the south-land. 

And moreover of these tidings saith Hallfrcd : 

Meseems the king, fight-framer. 
'I'hat tide o'ermuch was missing. 
The following of the Thrand-lads 
Much folk to fleeing turned them. 
The mighty folk-lord fought there 
Sole gainst two kings full doughty, 
And an earl for third foe had he. 
Famed wont such things to tell of. 


THIS battle was of the sharpest, and great 
was the fall of men. The forecastle-men 
of the Long Worm and the Short Worm 
and the Crane cast anchors andgrapplings on to the 
ships of KingSvein, and had to bring their weapons 
to bear right down under their feet. So cleared 
they all those ships they grappled ; but King Svein 
and such of his folk as escaped fled into other ships, 
and therewith drew aback out of shot. So went it 
with this host as K ing Olaf Tryggvison had guessed. 

Then in the place of them fell on Olaf the 
Swede-king ; but so soon as they came nigh to the 
big ships it fared with them as with the others, 
that they lost much folk and some of their ships, 
and in such plight drew aback. 

But Earl Eric laid Iron-beak aboard tiie outer- 

CXV The story of Olaf Tryggviso7t. 369 

most ship of King Olaf, and cleared it, and cut 
it adrift from its lashings, and then laid aboard 
that one which was next, and fought till that too 
was cleared. Then fell the folk a-fleeing from 
the lesser ships up on to the bigger ; but Earl 
Eric cut each one adrift from her lashings as he 
cleared it. 

Then drew the Danes and Swedes into bowshot 
again, and beset King Olaf's ships all round 
about ; but ever Earl Eric laid aboard the ships 
and dealt in fight of handy-strokes ; and ever as 
men fell aboard his ships came other in the stead 
of them, Swedes and Danes. So sayeth Haldor: 

Brunt of sharp swords betided 
All round about the Long Worm, 
Lads sheared peace long asunder 
Where golden spears were singing. 
Tis told that men of Sweden, 
And Dane-groves of bright leg-biters 
Him followed forth in the Southland 
At war-tide of his foemen. 

Then waxed the battle of the sharpest, and 
much folk fell ; but in the end it came about that 
all the ships of King Olaf Tryggvison were 
cleared, saving the Long Worm, and all the folk 
were come aboard it who were yet fit for fight of 
his men. Then Earl Eric laid Iron-beak aboard 
the Long Worm, and there befell fight of handy- 
strokes. So sayeth Haldor : 

Midst a hard firth was gotten 
The Long Worm. There were cloven 
The moons of the galley's prow-fork 
Where blood-reeds clashed together. 

370 TJie Saga Library. CXVI 

Where the byrny-witchwife's Regin 
Laid the board-mighty Beardling 
Gainst Fafnir's side ; and the earl wrought 
The hehn-gale off the island. 


EARL ERIC was in the forehold of his 
ship, and a shield-burg was arrayed about 

There was both handy-stroke and thrusting of 
spears, and all things cast that might make a 
weapon, while some shot with the bow or cast 
with the hand. But such brunt of weapons was 
borne against the Worm that scarce might any 
shield him, so thick flew spears and arrows ; for 
the warships lay on the Worm all round about. 

But now were King Olaf'smen waxen so wood, 
that they leapt up on the bulwark to the end that 
they might get stroke of sword to smite folk ; but 
many lay not the Worm so nigh aboard that they 
would come to handy-strokes ; and Olaf's men 
went most of them overboard, and took no more 
heed than if they fought on the plain mead, and so 
sunk they down with their weapons. So sayeth 
Hallfred : 

Smiters of ring-wrought war-sark 
Sank wounded down from the Adder 
In the fray of arrows' peril ; 
And nowise there they spared them. 
The Worm shall long be lacking 
Such lads as these, though glorious 
The king may be who steers her 
As 'neath war-host she glideth. 

ex VI I The Story of Ola f Tryggvison. 371 


NOW Einar Thambarskelvir was aboard 
the Worm aft in the main-hold ; and he 
shot with the bow and was the hardest 
shooting of all men. Einar shot at Earl Eric, 
and the arrow smote the tiller-head above the 
head of the earl, and went in up to the shaft 
binding. The earl looked thereon and asked if 
they wist who shot ; and even therewith came 
another arrow so nigh that it flew betwixt the 
earl's side and his arm, and so on into the staying 
board of the steersman, and the point stood out 
far beyond. Then spake the earl to a man whom 
some name Finn, but othersome say that he was 
of Finnish kin, and he was the greatest of bow- 
men ; and he said, " Shoot me yonder big man in 
the strait hold." 

So Finn shot, and the arrow came on Einar's 
bow even as he drew the third time, and the bow 
burst asunder in the midst. Then spake King 
Olaf : " What brake there so loud ?" 

Answereth Einar : " Norway, king, from thine 

" No such crash as that," said the king ; " take 
my bow and shoot therewith." And he cast the 
bow to him. So Einar took the bow and drew it 
straightway right over the arrow-head, and said : 
" Too weak, too weak, All-wielder's bow ! " and 
cast the bow back. Then took he his shield and 
sword, and fought manfully. 

372 TJie Saga Library. CXVIII 


the poop of the Worm, and shot full oft 
that day, whiles with the bow and 
whiles with javelins, and ever twain at once. 
Now looked he forward on the ship, and saw his 
men heave up sword and smite full fast, but saw 
withal that they bit but ill ; so he cried out aloud : 
" Is it because ye raise your swords so dully, that I 
see that none of ye bite ? " 

So a man answered : " Our swords are dull and 
all to-sharded." 

Then went the king down into the forehold, and 
unlocked the chest of the high-seat; and took thence 
many sharp swords and gave them to his men. 

But as he stretched down his right hand men 
saw that the blood ran down from under his byrny 
sleeve ; but none wist where he was wounded. 


NOW the most defence on the Worm and 
the most murderous to men was of those 
of the forehold and the forecastle, for in 
either place was the most chosen folk and the 
bulwark hiofhest ; but the folk becfan to fall first 
amidships. But now whenas but few men were 
on their feet about the mast. Earl Eric fell to 
boarding, and came up on to the Worm with 
fourteen men. Then came against him Hyrning, 

ex IX The story of Olaf Tryggvison. 373 

brother-in-law of King Olaf, with a company of 
men, and there befell the hardest battle ; but such 
was the end of it that the earl drew aback on to 
Iron-beak, and of those men who followed him, 
some fell and some were wounded. Hereof telleth 
Thord Kolbeinson : 

There was upraised the war-din 

Around the gory Hropt's walls 

Of the king's host: and there Hyrning, 

Who turned the blue swords' edges. 

Gat good word. Ere it dieth 

Shall the high fells' hall be fallen. 

And yet again was the battle of the sharpest, and 
many men fell aboard the Worm. But when the 
crew of the Worm waxed thin for the warding, then 
Earl Eric fell on again to come up on to her ; and 
yet again was his meeting hard. But when the 
forecastle men of the Worm saw this, they went 
aft and turned against the earl to defend them, 
and dealt him a hard meeting. Nevertheless, 
whereas there was so much folk fallen aboard the 
Worm that the bulwarks were widely waste of 
men, the earl's men came aboard on every side, 
and all the folk that yet stood upon their feet for 
the warding of the Worm fell aback aft whereas 
the king was. So saith Haldor the Unchristened, 
telling how Earl Eric cheered on his men : 

Back shrank the folk with Olaf 
Across the thwarts, when glad-heart 
The earl cheered on his war-lads, 
The doughty in the battle, 
When they had locked the ship-boards 
Around the King of Halland, 
Bounteous of sea-flame. Tided 
Sword-oath round that Wend-slayer. 

374 The Saga Libvavy. CXX 


NOW Kolbiorn the Marshal went up on to 
the poop to the king, and much alike 
were they in raiment and weapons, and 
Kolbiorn also was the fairest and biggest of men. 
And now once more in the forehold was the battle 
full fierce ; but, because so much folk of the earl was 
gotten aboard the Worm as the ship might well hold, 
and his ships also lay close all round about the Worm, 
and but a few folk were left forwarding her aeainst so 
great an host, now albeit those men were both strong 
and stout of heart, yet there in short space fell the 
more part of them. But King Olaf himself and 
Kolbiorn leapt overboard, either on his own board ; 
but the earl's men had put forth small boats and 
slew such as leapt into the deep. So when the 
king himself leapt into the sea they would have 
laid hands on him and brought him to Earl Eric ; 
but King Olaf threw up his shield over him, and 
sank down into the deep sea. But Kolbiorn the 
Marshal thrust his shield under him to guard him 
from the weapons thrust up at him from the boats 
that lay below, and in such wise he came into the 
sea that his shield was under him, so that he sank 
not so speedily, but that they laid hand on him 
and drew him up into a boat ; and they deemed of 
him that he was the king. So he was led before 
the earl ; and when the earl was ware that it was 
Kolbiorn and not King Olaf, then was peace given 
to Kolbiorn. 

But even at this point of time leapt overboard 

CXXI The story of Olaf Tryggvison. 375 

from the Worm all King Olafs men that were yet 
alive; and Hallfred sayeth that Thorkel Nosy the 
king's brother leapt overboard the last of all : 

The waster of the arm-stone 
Saw the Crane floating empty, 
And either Adder : gladsome 
He reddened spear in the battle 
Ere the fight-daring, bold-heart 
Thorketil deft at swimming 
Fled from huge brunt of battle 
Offboard the wolf of tackle. 


NOW as is aforewrit Earl Sigvaldi had 
fallen into fellowship with King Olaf in 
Wendland, and had ten ships with him ; 
but an eleventh there was whereon were the men 
of Astrid the king's daughter, wife of Earl Sigvaldi. 
But whenas King Olaf leaped overboard, then all 
the host cried the cry of victory, and therewith 
Earl Sigvaldi and his men dashed their oars into 
the water and rowed into the battle. Hereof 
telleth Haldor the Unchristened ; 

From wide away the Wend-ships 
Drew o'er the sea together. 
And Thridi's land's lean monsters 
On the folk yawned iron-throated. 
Swords'-din at sea betided, 
Wolf's fare the erne was tearing, 
There fought the lads' dear leader, 
And fled full many a war-host. 

But the Wendland cutter whereon were Astrid's 
men rowed away and back under Wendland ; and 

376 The Saga Library. CXXI 

the talk of many it was then and there that King 
Olaf will have done off his byrny under water, and 
so dived out under the long-ships and swum for the 
Wendland cutter, and that Astrid's men brought 
him to land. And many are the tales told there- 
after by some men about King Olaf's farings. 
Nevertheless in this wise sayeth Hallfred : 

I wot not one or the other, 
To call him dead or living. 
The soother of mews of clatter 
Of the sheen of Leyfi's sea-deer. 
Since either tale folk tell me 
For true, and this is certain 
That wounded must the king be, 
.\nd tidings of him fail us. 

And howsoever it may have been, nevermore 
thenceforward came Olaf Tryggvison back to his 
realm of Norway. 

But thus sayeth Hallfred the Troublous-skald : 

The man who said that living 
Was the folk's king, all his life long 
Was the point-shaking servant 
Of the guile-shy son of Tryggvi. 
And so folk say that Olaf 
Gat him from out the steel-storm — 
.^h, wide from truth their words are ; 
Woe worth that all is worser ! 

And again : 

When thanes fell on with folk-host, 
On the king the hardy-hearted, 
E'en as I learn, then would not 
Such luck befall his land's folk. 
As that the swayer of hand's ice, 
Of worth so manifolded. 
From such an host should get him, 
And yet folk deem it likely. 

CXXII The Story of Ola f Tyyggvison. 377 

Still will some tell the wealth-wise 

Of the king in battle wounded, 

Or of his coming safely 

Forth from the clash of metal. 

But sooth from the Southland cometh 

Of the Great Play and his slaying, 

Nor many things now may I 

With the wavering word of men-folk. 


SO had Earl Eric gotten the Long Worm, 
and the victory, and a great prey ; as 
sayeth Haldor : 

Thither the Long Worm bore him, 
The lord with helm becoifed, 
To the Thing of swords full mighty. 
And the folk adorned their shipboard. 
Right glad the earl took over 
The Adder south in the war-din, 
But Heming's high-born brother 
Ere that must redden edges. 

Now Svein, the son of Earl Hakon, had wedded 
Holmfrid, the daughter of Olaf the Swede-king. 
But when they shared the realm of Norway between 
them, the Dane-king, the Swede-king, and Earl 
Eric, then had Olaf the Swede-king four folklands 
in Thrandheim, both the Meres and Raumsdale, 
and Ran-realm from the Gaut-elf to Swine-sound. 
This dominion King Olaf delivered into the hands 
of Earl Svein on such covenant as the scat-paying 
kings or earls had held it aforetime of the over- 

But Earl Eric had four counties in Thrandheim, 
Halogaland and Naumdale, the Firths and Fialir, 

378 The Saga Library. CXXII 

Sogn and Hordland and Rogaland, and North 
Agdir out to Lidandisness. So sayeth Thord 
Kolbeinson : 

Wot I that, save for Erling, 
Most Hersirs erst were friendly 
Unto the Earls. Here sing I 
The Tyr of the flame of ship-land. 
Fight done, and all the land lay 
At peace north all from Veiga 
To Agdir south, or further 
Maybe. I chose words rightly. 

Now folk well-pleased of their ruler, 
To love their lot well liked them ; 
And he gave out he was bounden 
To hold hand over Norway. 
But Svein the king, the tale goes, 
Is dead now in the Southland, 
And his towns withal are wasted. 
But few of folk woe faileth. 

Svein the Dane-kincrhad still the Wick even as 
he had aforetime ; but he gave Earl Eric Raum- 
realm and Heathmark. 

Svein Hakonson took earldom from Olaf the 
Swede. Earl Svein was the goodliest man ever 
seen. Earl Eric and Earl Svein both let them- 
selves be christened and took the right troth ; but 
whiles they ruled over Norway they let every man 
do as he would about the holding of the faith ; but 
the ancient laws they held well and all customs of 
the land, and were men of upright rule and well 
beloved. Earl Eric was by far the foremost of 
the brethren in all authority. 





Of the less obvious "kenningar" (periphrases), preceded by a 
list of abbreviated references. 

B. Stud. — Sophus Bugge, Studier over de nordiske Gude og 

Heltesagns Oprindelse. Christiania, 1881-89. 
FaS. — Fornaldarsogur NorSrlanda. 2nd ed., Reykjavik, 1886. 
Fm. — Fafnisnidl, in N. F., pp. 219-226. 
Fs. — Fornnianna-sogur. Kaupmannahofn, 1825, etc. 
Gh. — GuSrunar-hvot (Gudrun's Whetting), in N. F., pp. 311-315. 
Grm. — Gn'mnis-mdl (Grimnis[= Odin's]-lay), in N. F., pp. 75-89. 
Hbl.— Hdr-bar«s lj6» (Hoary-beard's[= Odin's]-lay), in N. F., pp. 

Hdm. — HamSismdl (Lay of Hamdir), in N. F., pp. 316-23. 
H. H. — Helga kvi*a HjorvariSssonar (Lay of Helgi Hiorvardson), 

in N. F., pp. 171-178. 
Hm. — Hdvamdl (High-one's[= Odin's]-lay), in N. F., pp. 43-64. 
Lex. poet. — Lexicon poeticum linguae septentrionalis, conscripsit 

Sveinbjom Egilsson. Hafniae, i860. 
N. F. — Norrcsn FornkvaeJSi . . . almindelig kaldet Sa?mundar Edda 

hins Fr68a. Udgiven af Sophus Bugge. Christiania, 1867. 
N. F. H.— A. P. Munch's Det norske Folks Historic. Christiania, 

1852, etc. 
S. E. — (Snorra Edda) Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Hafniae, 1848, etc. 
Saxo. — Saxo Grammaticus. Ed. P. E. Miiller. Hafniae, 1839-58. 
Vk. — Volundar-kviSa (Wealand's Lay), in N. F., pp. 163-170. 
Vsp. — Voluspd (The Witches' Word), in N. F., pp. i-ii. 
V))m.— VafhTiSnismdl (Lay of the Riddle-Wise), in N. F., pp. 

Y. — Ynglingasaga (Story of the Ynglings), in the present vol. 

Page 16. 

SEAS' sun : " djiip-ro'Sull," Sun of the deep = gold. — 
Forehead's moons : " enni-tungl " = eyes. 
Page 21. Sire of As-folk : "asa niSr" = Odin, to 
which the epithet reddener of shield: " skaldbloetr," = 
" skjaldblcetr," links itself appositively. Others take 

382 The Saga Library. 

" reddener of shield " as vocat., an apostrophe to a 
listener. — Scat-giver : " skattfoerir " = Seeming. — Giant- 
maiden : "jarnviSja" = Skadi. Cf. S. E. i. 58: " Gygr 
ein byr fyrir austan MiXgarS i )ieim sk6gi er JarnviSr 
heitir ; i feim skogi byggja fair trollkonur er JarnviSjur 
heita," i.e. a certain trolhvoman dwells to the east of 
Midgarth in that wood which is called Iron-" with"; in 
that wood dwell the trollwomen who are called Iron- 
withies. For Skadi's kin, cf. S. E. i. 92 : " NjorBr i fd 
konu er SkaSi heitir, d6ttir jjjaza jotuns," t.e. Niord has 
her for wife who is hight Skadi, the daughter of the 
giant Thiazi, cf. Grm. 1 1 (N. F.). — Manhome : " Mann- 
heimar," according to Snorri another name for Sweden 
proper, to distinguish it from Godhome, or Sweden the 
Great = Scythia. Possibly, however, Snorri was mis- 
taken here. From the myth of Gefjon, Y. ch. v., it 
would seem that the parts of Sweden believed to be 
inhabited by giants were named Giant-home, Jotun- 
heimar ; naturally, therefore, the remaining parts, in- 
habited by man, would be called Manhome. 

/''or Read 

The warriors' friend The sea-bone's folk's 

And Skadi with him. Friend and Skadi. 

But she of the rock-lands' But she, the goddess 

Rushing snow-skids, Of gliding snow-skids, 

The sea-bone's folk's friend : "sc-evar beins skatna vinr" 
= Odin (in his character of Thiazi's son-in-law) ; sea- 
bone = stone, rock, hence rocky mountains, their folk 
= mountain giants. Goddess of snow-skids : " ondur- 
dis" = Skadi ; cf S. E. i. 94: " ferr hon (Ska?)i) mjok 
d ski'iJum ok meS boga ok skytr dyr ; hon heitir ondurguS 
e'Sr ondurdfs," i.e. fares she much on snow-shoes and with 
bow and shoots wild things ; she is called snow-shoe 
goddess or snow-shoe maid. 

Page 25. Windless wave of the wild bull's spears: 
" vindlauss vagr svigSis geira " = mead ; thus : bull's 
spears = horns ; their wave = the fluid, liquor, which is 

Explanations. 383 

drunk out of them, here the mead of the vat, in the still 
deep of which Fjolnir was drowned. 

Page 26. Durnir's offspring : " Durnis ni^r " = a 
dwarf, Durnir being one of many Eddaic names of 
dwarfs, S. E. i. 470. — Sokmimir, a giant (S. E. i. 551, 
and n. 2). Sokmimir's hall = a hollow stone, cavernous 
rocks being regarded as the abode of mountain giants. 

Page 27. Vili's (not Vilir's) brother: " Vilja brSsir" = 
Odin. Cf S. E. i. 46 : " Borr fekk feirrar konu, er 
Besla het, dottir Bolforns jotuns, ok fengu fau III sonu : 
bet einn OSinn, annar Vili, III Ve," i.e. Bor gat that 
woman who hight Besla, a daughter of the giant Bale- 
thorn, and they had three sons, one hight Odin, another 
Vili, a third Ve. — Men's over-thrower : " Ijona bagi " = 
Vanland. — Jewel caster : " men-glotuSr" = Vanland. 

Page 28. Will-burg: "vilja byrgi," prop, the chest, 
the breast = body. — The sea's brother : " sjdvar ni'Sr " 
= fire. — Baneful thief of the woodland : " mein-j3J6fr 
markar" = fire. Cf. S. E. i. 332 : " Hvernig skal kenna 
eld .'' Svd, at kalla hann broSur vinds ok .i^gis, bana ok 
grand viBar," &c., i.e. How shall fire be betokened } 
Thus, to call it the brother of the wind and of .^gir, the 
bane and destruction of wood, &c. 

Page 29. I. Roaring wolf of gleed, or, better, roaring 
Garm of gleed: "glymjandi glo'Sa Garmr " = fire. 
Garm, the name of the dog that watched the entrance to 
" Gnipa "-cave, Vsp. passim, Grm. 44. — Dog of the 
gleed = fiery devourer = flame. — Hearth-keel : "arin- 
kjoll," nave of the hearth = house, hall. 

Page 30. 2. Roaring bane of Half: "dynjandi bani 
Hilfs " = fire, funeral burning. Half, a king of Hord- 
land, and famous sea-rover, about A.D. 700, N. F. H. i. 
356, set upon with fire by his stepfather Asmund and, on 
escaping from the flames, slain by him together with his 
company, the famous Halfs champions ("Halfs-rekkar"), 
FaS. ii. 35-38. Half's bane = fire, S. E. i. 332. The 
earliest tradition was clearly that Half had been burnt 
to death. 

384 The Saga Library. 

Page 31. Glitnir's goddess: "Glitnisgnd" = the Sun, 
a goddess among the ^sir, S. E. i. 118. GHtnir, the 
glittering region, the sky ; also the heavenly palace of 
the god Forseti (President), S. E. i. 78, 102-104. Gna, a 
goddess in the service of Frigg, S. E. i. 1 16. — The sister 
of Wolf, the sister of Narfi : "jodis Ulfs ok Narfa " = 
" Loki's daughter," at the end of the strophe, i.e. Hel. 
Cf. S. E. i. 104 : " Sd er enn taldr meS Asum, er sumir 
kalla r6gbera Asanna . . . . sa er nefndr Loki eSa 
Loptr, son Farbauta jotuns .... kona bans heitir 
Sygin, sonr feirra Nari e^a Narvi. Enn atti Loki fleiri 
born. AngrboSa het gygr i Jotunheimum, viS henni gat 
Loki III born : eitt var Fenris-ulfr, annat Jormungandr, 
fat er MiSgarSsormr, III er W&\" i.e. Further, among the 
.^sir is counted he, whom some folk call the slanderer of 
the yEsir .... he is named Loki or Lopt, son of the 
giant Farbauti .... his wife is hight Sygin, and their 
son, Nari or Narvi. Still more children had Loki. 
Angrboda hight a troll-wife in Giant-home on whom 
Loki gat three children : one of whom was Fenris-VVolf, 
another Jormungand, that is, Midgarth-worm, and the 
third Hel. 

Page 32. Death-rod : " val-teinn " = sword ; he that 
tameth its hunger : " spak-fromu^r " = a warrior, here 
King Day. 

Page 33. The fork that pitcheth the meat of Sleipnir : 
" slongu-))ref Sleipnis vei^ar " = hay-fork. Sleipnir, 
Odin's eight-footed horse, S. E. i. -jo : " Hestar Asanna 
heita sva : Sleipnir er baztr, hann a Odinn, hann hefir 
atta fzetr," i.e. The horses of the /Esir are thus called : 
Sleipnir is the best, he is owned by Odin, he has eight 
feet. Cf S. E. i. 132-4. Sleipnir's meat = horse fodder, 

Page 34. Loki's sister, read daughter: "Logad{s" = 
Hel. Cf p. 31. — He who needs must tame the wind-cold 
steed of Signy's husband : " hinn er temja skyldi svalan 
best Signyjar vers" = King Agni, hanged on gallows. 
Signy's husband, the famous sea-king Hagbard, whom 

Explanations. 385 

King Sigar had hanged on gallows (S. E. I. 522) for getting 
disguised into bed with his daughter Signy, whose brothers, 
Sigar's sons, Hagbard had lately felled in battle. His 
death Signy so took to heart, that she burnt herself 
and her handmaidens in her own bovver. Cf. Saxo, 
lib. vii. 341 foil.; S. E. i. 522; FaS, i. 180. Hence 
Signy's husband's, i.e. Hagbard's, horse = the gallows 
that bore the weight of his body. " Wind-cold," as an 
epithet to a gallows, is derived from the name of the 
tree on which Odin hung, "vingameiSr," " vindga mei'Si " 
(dat.), the windy, to winds exposed tree, Havamdl, 138, 
cf. Bugge, Stud., I Sen, p. 292 foil. 

Page 39. The grim-heart horse of Sigar : " grimmr 
Sigars j6r " = gallows ; corpse-ridden windy tree : " nd- 
rei'Sr vinga meiSr," id. 

Page 41. High-breasted hemp-rope Sleipnir: "ha- 
brjostrhorva Sleipnir" = tall gallows. — The leavings of 
Hagbard's goat : " HagbariSs hoSnu leif " = hang-rope, 
halter. A doubtful " kenning." " The goat's leavings " 
is supposed to mean the skin of a goat out of which 
might have been made the halter with which Hagbard 
was hanged. 

Pages 43, 44. The little end of the sword that bull 
beareth : "svei^u^s ma;kis hlutr hinn mjovari " = the 
sword-point of the yoke reindeer; " ok-hreins log'Sis oddr" 
= the herd's head-weapon : " hjar^ar mzekir ; " all mean- 
ing a horn — the horn of oxen being the animal's weapon 
(sword) of attack. 

Page 46. Jotun's yoke-beast : " jotuns eykr" = wild 
bull ; its head sword : " flsemingr farra trjonu " = horn. — 
Brows' temple : " briina horgr" = head. 

Page 52. The mountain-tangle's biting sickness : 
" hh'Sar-fangs bit-sott" = wood fire, fire. — Ship of the 
hearth-fires : " brand-nor " = house ; cf. hearth keel, 
p. 29. 

Page 53. Toft's-bark : " toptar nokkvi "= nave (navis), 
hall. — Sea-heart: "lagar hjarta" = stone, hence = the 
countryside or place called Stone in Esthonia. 

III. c c 

386 The Saga Library. 

Page 54. Gymir's song: "Gymis lj6S" = the sea- 
god's lay, the murmur of the sea. 

Page 56. The bane of Jonaker's sons : " harmr 
Jonakrs bura" = rock-slip, stones. Gudrun, daughter 
of Giuki, had with King Jonakr three sons, Sorli, Erp, 
and Hamdir. With her first husband, Sigurd Fafnir's- 
bane, she had a daughter, Swan-hild, afterwards married 
to King Jormunrek (Ermanaric), who had her trodden to 
death by horses. The sons of Jonakr undertook the 
revenge, and Sorli and Hamdir, having slain Erp on the 
way, made so good an account of themselves in the hall 
of Jormunrek, that they could not be overcome by 
weapons. Then Jormunrek cried out : 

Stone ye the men. 
Since spears won't bite. 
Nor edge nor iron, 
The sons of Jonaker. 

And so they fell, Cf. Gh., N. F., 311, Hdm. v. 25, S. E. 
i. 366-70. 

Page 57. Corpse destroyer, read copse destroyer : 
" heipt hn'sungs " = the stone slip. — Hogni's bulrush : 
" Hogna hror" {i.e. "hreyr" = "reyr") = sword or 
spear. Hogni, a famous sea-king, cf. S. E. i. 432-34. 

World's bones : "foldarbein" = stones, rocks. Cf. S. E. 
i. 48 : " Jjeir (Bors synir) toku Ymi ( — i. 46 : hinn 
gamli hrimpurs, hann kollum vrer Ymi — ) ok fluttu { mitt 
Ginnunga-gap, ok gerSu af honum jorSina ; af bl65i 
hans sa;inn ok votnin, jorSin var gor af holdinu, en 
bjorgin af beinunum, grjot ok ur^ir gerSu feir af tonnum 
ok joxlum, ok af feim beinum cr brotin voru," i.e. 
They (the sons of Bor) took Ymir ( — the ancient rhyme- 
giant, him we call Ymir — ), and brought him into the 
midst of Ginnung-gap, and made of him the earth ; out 
of his blood the sea and the waters, the earth (soil) 
being made of his flesh, but the rocks of his bones, grit 
and skries'-heaps they made of his front teeth and jaw- 
teeth, and of such of his bones as were broken. 

Page 64. Reek-flinger: " reyks r6su5r"= fire. — House- 

Explanations. 387 

thief fiery-footed : " hus-J)j6fr hyrjar leistum . ..." 
= id. 

Page (^. Temple-wolf: "hof-gyldir" = fire. — The 
glede-, read : gleed-wrapt son of Forniot : "gloS-fjalgr 
sonr Fornj6ts " = fire. Cf. S. E. i. 330 : " Hvernig skal 
kenna vind 1 Sva, at kalla hann son Fornjots, br6'5ur 
.(Egis ok elds," i.e. How shall wind be betokened ? Thus, 
to call it the son of Forniot, the brother to yEgir and fire. 

Page 68. The hill-ward's helpsome daughter: "hall- 
varps hli'fi-nauma," must mean Hel. We have followed 
Egilsson's conjecture, who, instead of "hallvarps" reads 
"hall-varfs," from "hall-varjjr" ("hall-vor^r"), guardian of 
rocks, rock-abider, a giant, Loki, whose " hlifi-nauma," 
helping or aiding daughter, Hel might well be named, 
seeing that in the last fight of the gods all Hel's company 
follows Loki — "en Loka fylgja allir Heljarsinnar"(S. E. 
i. i9o).^Elfof thebyrny : "brynj-alfr"= man, here Half- 
dan Whiteleg. 

Page 69. To the may (= daughter) of the brother of 
Byleist : " til meyjar Byleists broSur" = to Hel. Cf. 
S. E. i. 104 : "brae^r hans {i.e. Loka) eru {leir Byleistr ok 
Helblindi," i.e. the brothers of him (Loki, the father of 
Hel) are these, Byleist and Hell-blind. 

Sea's bones : " lagar bein " = stones, cf. p. 57. 

Page 70. The Thing of Odin : " j^riSja fing," lit. the 
Third-one's Thing or assembly = Val-Hall ; jJri'Si, one 
of Odin's names, S. E. i. 36. — Hvedrung's maiden : 
" hve'Srungs ma:r"= Hel. HveSrungr, a giant (S. E. 
i. 549), cf. " mogr Hve'Srungs," the son of Hvedrung = 
Fenris-wolf, the brother of Hel, Vsp. 555. 

Page 73. Thror : " \x6x " = Odin. 

Page 99. I. Fight-fish: " hjaldr-seiS " = sword ; its 
home-road : " v^-braut " = wonted path = shield ; the 
sword's singing : " galdrar," thereon = weapon din, fight, 
battle ; those who crave it (lit. its craving beams) : " seski- 
meiSar" = rebels. — Heathland = " Updale Woods" of 
the text. — War-din's raiser : " Grimnis gny-staerandi," lit. 
increaser of Gn'mni's, i.e. Odin's, din = Harald Hairfair. 

388 The Saga Library. 

— Sea skates : " lagar ski'Bi "= ships. — Horses that welter 
in wind-swept hall : "gnap-salar riS-vigg " = ships ; "gnap- 
salr " = exposed hall, windswept ocean, " riS-vigg " = 
rocking, rolling horse. 

2. War-din's heeder: "|7r6ttar hlym-raekr," lit. Thrott's, 
i.e. Odin's din's pursuer, strenuous fighter = Harald the 
king. — Wolf-pack's highway: "glamma fcrSar troB" = 
heath-land, the Updale Woods again. — Manscathe that 
meeteth the home-way unto the sea-log : " mann-skaeSr 
msetir ve-brautar lagar tanna" = Harald, in his capacity 
of a victorious commander of the fleet ; " tanni " = fir- 
tree ; " t. lagar," the fir-tree of the sea, ship ; its " ve- 
braut," home-way, wonted path = ocean ; its " mastir," 
he who meets, i.e. braves it. 

Page 100. Board -steed: " borS - holkvir " = ship. 
" Holkvir," the name of Hogni's horse, S. E. i. 484. — 
Wargear's wielder = Harald. ^The red shields' voice : 
" rauSra randa r5dd " = battle din, battle. 

Page 102. Byrny'sfowl: " bryn-gogl "= weapons for 
thrusting and cutting. — The din of Skogul : " Skoglar 
dynr " = battle. Skogul, one of the " Valkyrjur," S. E. i. 
1 18-20. — Dyer of edges : " egg-lituSr " = King Harald. 

Page 104. Stem of Hogni's daughter: "vi'SrHogna 
meyjar" = warrior, a warlike lord. Hogni's daughter, 
Hildr, S. E. i. 432-36, here treated as the " Valkyrja" of 
the same name, S. E. i. 118. 

Page 105. The friend of Lodur : "vinr LoBurs" = 
Odin; his din = battle. — In Vsp, 18, Lodur plays 
with Odin the same part in the creation of Ask and 
Embla, that Odin's brother, Vili, plays in S. E. i. 52. 

Page 109. 1. Frey's game : "Frays leikr" = warfare. 

2. Feeder of the fight mew : " grennir gunn-mas " = 
Harald Hairfair. — The linden's wild deer : " olmr lindi- 
hjortr " = ship, that " bounds over billow." 

Page 110. Construe: Black gleaming swords of the 
followers of the mighty, i.e. of Harald, bit men. 

Page 112. 2. Wolf-coats: " ulf-heBnar," the bareserks 
of King Harald, who defended the forecastle of his ship, 

Explanations. 389 

and wore wolf-coats for byrnies. Cf. Vatnsda;la saga, 
ch. 9 (in Fornsogur, Leipzig, iS6o). 

3. Bold lord of the Eastmen = King of the Norwegians, 
Harald Hairfair. — The brawny-necked king : Kiotvi the 
Wealthy, King of Agdir. 

Page 113. Odin's hall-tiles: " Svafnis salna^frar" = 
shields. " Svafnir," sopitor, one of the names of Odin 
(Grm. 54); his "salr" = "Val"-hall ; its"nc'efrar" (from 
" na;fr," the rind of the birch bark) = shields. Cf. S. E. 
i. 34 : " sva segir Jjjo'iSolfr hinn hvinverski, at ValhoU 
var skjoldum fokt," so says Thiodolf of Hvin, that 
Val-hall was roofed with shields. In proof of this the 
present verse is quoted. — Gold staves : " auS-kylfur," lit. 
wealth-clubs = men. 

Page 114. Holmfolk : " Holmrygir," the dwellers of 
the islands belonging to Rogaland ; here, such of Harald's 
wives as hailed from Rogaland. 

Page 116. Gold-loader: " men-fergir," he who loads 
his men with gold, a bounteous prince. King Harald. — 
The grove of Nith-wolves' land-lace: "lundr NiSar-varga 
land-mens" = King Harald. Nith,name of several rivers, 
= river ; its wolf, the prowler thereof, a ship ; its (the 
ship's) land = ocean ; the lace, ornament, jewel, therein 
= gold ; the grove thereof = man, here King Harald. 
Cf K. G/slason, Njala, ii. 380-388, and Finnur Jons- 
son, Kritiske Studier, 76-78. — Waster of the path of 
the fish that playeth around the war-sword's isthmus: 
" Jjverrir logSis ei'Ss lae-brautar " = relentless warrior, 
King Harald. The war -sword's isthmus = a shield 
(which swords habitually cross) ; the shield's fish = 
weapon(s) passing through and across it ; the shield- 
fish's path = shield again ; its waster, a warrior, here 
King Harald. 

Page 118. Brave brother of the barons = Rolf Wend- 
afoot. — Wolf of Odin's war-board : " ulfr Yggs val-bn'kar " 
= Rolf Wend-afoot. " Yggr," terrifier, one of Odin's" 
names, S. E. i. 86, Grm. 54 ; his war-board = shield ; 
its wolf, destroyer = warrior, here Rolf. 

390 Tlie Saga Libmry. 

Page 126. 3. Foot-thorn of the eagle : " il-forn arnar " 
= claw. 

Page 1 34. Ship's plain: "fleyjaflatv6llr"=sea. — Geitir's 
way: "Geitis vegr" = sea. Gcitir, a sea-king, S. E. 
i. 546. 

Page 155. I. Rider of the strand-steed: "blakk- 
ri'Sandi bakka," i.e. riSandi bakka blakks = Harald 
Greycloak. Strand-steed = ship ; its rider = captain, 
commander of a fleet. — Fight-fire's speeder : " rog-eisu 
rsesir" = Harald Greycloak. Fight-fire = gleaming 

2. Folk's friend drave the fight-flames to gladden the 
choughs of the Valkyrs : "gumna vinr rak dolg-eisu at 
gamni gjo'Sum disar" = Harald Greycloak pursued war- 
fare with much manslaughter. Choughs of the Valkyrs 
= carrion birds, ravens. — The Frey of the land : " Foldar 
Freyr " — Harald Greycloak. 

Page 156. Drift of battle's maiden: " drifa Mistar 
vffs " = weapon-fray, fight. This "kenning" is somewhat 
unsatisfactory, unless " Mist," a name of a Valkyrja, is 
taken as an appellative for battle. Another reading is : 
"drifa Mistar ni'fs" (= "hn{fs" or "knifs "), the drift of 
Mist's knife, the shower of the battle-maiden's missiles, 
which is both full and correct. Mist, one of the cup- 
bearers in " Val "-hall, a Valkyrja, Grm. 16. — Swan of 
Odin: "svanr JalfaSar" (one of Odin's many names) 
= raven, bird of prey.— Lurers to crows' wine (= blood), 
warriors ; their covering = byrnies, coats of mail. — In 
his Kritiske Studier, pp. 81-84, I^f- Finnur Jonsson has 
made an ingenious attempt at restoring the second half 
of this strophe, in the translation of which we have 
followed Egilsson, Fs. xii. 26, Lex. Poet., convinced that 
it still awaits proper interpretation. 

Page 157. I. Speeder of gales of bow-drifts' fires ; 
"^1-runnr alm-drosareisu," i.e. runnr eisu alm-drosar ^Is 
= King Hakon the Good. Bow-drift, flight of arrows ; 
its gale, brunt of battle ; the fire thereof, gleaming 
weapons ; their speeder, Warrior, commander in battles. 

Explanations. 39 1 

— Green ness (lit. snout) of the Seal-wound : " graen 
trj6na Sel-meina " = the green nesses of Sealand. Guth- 
orm Cinder has known the name of Sealand only in 
the form of Selund, and takes it to be a compound of 
Sel = seal, and und = wound, hurt. Selund is the oldest 
name of the Danish island, which afterwards by mis- 
taken folk-etymology went into Sealand, Sialand. — 
Plate-decked sea-steeds : " tingls marar " = ships. — 
Wand of slaughter : " vals vondr " = sword ; its sender 
= man, here Hakon the Good. 

2. Blackthorn of the onset : " s6kn-heggr " = warrior. 
King Hakon. — The safe-guard of the Wend-host : " frelsi 
Vinda vals " = safe retreats, which the Wends might 
have had in Skaney. Cf Gislason, Udvalg af oldnord. 
skjaldekvad, p. 63. — Egilsson takes "safe-guard" to refer 
to the ships of the Wends. 

Page 158. I. Shielded by the skirt of Odin : "skyldir 
skaut-jalfaSar " = King Hakon. So Egilsson, who takes 
jalfa^ar for gen. of JalfaSr, one of the names of Odin ; 
his skirt = byrny. But the kenning may also be ren- 
dered : He who beshields the skirt -bear ; skirt ("skaut") 
= sail ; its bear = ship ; its skyldir, he who furnishes it 
with shields, goes a-warring on board her. — Gold -hewer : 
"gull-skyflir " = a bounteous man. King Hakon. 

2. The helmet's (lit. onset-hat's) ice-rod's reddener : 
"sokn-hattar svell-rj6Sr"= King Hakon. Helmet's ice- 
rod = sword. — Mind -gladdener: " ge?-baetir " = King 
Tryggvi Olafson. — Oak-green maid of Onar : "eiki-grzent 
flj6« Onars " = land, territory. Cf S. E. i. 320 : " Hvernig 
skal jorS kenna .' Kalla Ymis hold, ok moSur j^ors, dottur 
Onars," i.e. How shall earth (land) be betokened } Call 
her Ymir's flesh, and mother of Thor, daughter of Onar. 

Page 159. Swegdir's hall: " Sveg^is salr" = shield- 
burg, testudo clipeorum ; its breaker : " brigSandl " = 
ardent warrior, King Tryggvi. Svegdir, one of the 
princes of the Yngling race(Y., chap, xv.), or, it may be, 
some other hero of fame, renowned for an attack upon, 
or defence within a "skjald-borg," which, according to 

392 TJie Saga Library. 

S. E. i. 420, may be called " holl ok rsefr " = hall and 
roof. — Swan-mead's runners : "svan-vangsski'S" = ships. 
Swan-mead = sea ; the runner, skate, or skid of the 
sea = ship. 

Page 160. War-shrine : " gunn-horgr " = shield. — 
Sheath-tongues : " sli'Sr-tungur " = swords. 

Page 166. Thiassi's offspring : "afspringr |7jaza" = 
Earl Sigurd. It is stated (Y., chap, ix.) that Earl Hakon 
the Mighty, the father of Earl Sigurd, carried back the 
tale of his forefathers to Seeming, the son of Odin and 
Skadi, but Skadi was the daughter of the giant Thiazi, 
S. E. i. 92. — Gold-wounder : " fd-ssrandi " = one who 
shares gold, scatters wealth, a bounteous prince = Earl 
Sigurd. — Glaive god : "vsegja v6 " = Earl Sigurd. — Lord 
of fen-fire: "fens fur-r6gnir"= Earl Sigurd. Fen's fire 
= gold. Cf S. E. i. 336 : " Hvernig skal kenna gull ? 
Sva, at kalla pat . . . eld allra vatna," i.e. How shall gold 
be betokened.' Thus, to call it the fire of all waters. 
The many kennings of this kind for gold must derive 
their origin from myths about the Rhine gold, the Nibe- 
lung's hoard (cf. Rinar bal, gloS, log, sol, tjor, &c. ; see 
also S. E. i. 364). 

Page 172. Eker of din of Valkyr : "gildir val-fagnar" 
= King Hakon. 

Page 173. I. Fight-moons :" vi'g-nestr " = shields. — 
Hand-warp, read hand-wrap : " handar-vaf "= that which 
covers the hand, a shield. — The Niord of the fire of wide 
lands of sound-steeds : " NjorSr brands vi'Sra landa 
sunda-vals" ' = King Hakon. Sound-steed = ship; its 
wide land = the sea; the fire of the sea = gold; its Niord 
(god) = man, here King Hakon. — Niord of the moon of 
roaring of the swords : " NjorSr nadds-ha-raddar mana " 
= King Guthorm. Roaring of swords = battle; its moon 
= shield ; the shield's Niord (god) = warrior, here King 

2. Awcr of bow-draught : " eegir alm-drauga " = King 

' See Gi'slason, Udvalg af oldnordiske skjaldekvad. K^benh. 
1892, p. 65. 

Explanations. 393 

Hakon; his brethren: "braeSr" = his brother's sons, the 
sons of King Eric. Bow-draught = bow-string. — Wound- 
fire's Balder = King Hakon. Wound-fire = sword ; its 
Balder (god) = man, warrior. — Fight-seeker of the flood- 
craft = seeker of the flood-craft's fight : " boS-saekir 
flseSa br/kar" = "ssekir flaeSa brikar bo'Svar" = King 
Hakon. Flood-craft's fight = naval battle. 

Page 179. Gold waster: " malma fverrir" = King 
Hakon. — Host of sword song ; " hjorva raddar herr " = 
war-host, army ; sword song = battle. — War-flame : 
" rog-eisa" = sword ; its speeder : " rssir" = King Hakon. 
— The breeze of Mani's darling : " byrr Mina osk- 
kvanar " = courage. Cf. S. E. i. 540 : " huginn skal 
sva kenna, at kalla vind troUkvenna, ok rett at nefna til 
hverja er vill, ok sva at nefna jotnana ok kenna fa til 
konu eSa moBur e'Sa dottur fess," i.e. the mind shall thus 
be betokened, to call it the wind of troll-women 
(giantesses), and it is right to name thereto anyone 
(giantess) at will, and also to name the giants, and then 
to betoken the mind by (the wind of) a wife or a mother 
or a daughter of the giant named. Thus Mani was the 
son of the giant Mundilfceri, S. E. i. 56, Vfm. 23 ; his 
darling, therefore, a trollwoman, whose wind, breeze = 
" hugr," which means not only thought, mind, but also 
courage, valour. Finn J6nsson's interpretation, Kritiske 
Studier, 93. — Fray of spear-maids: "Snerra geir-vffa" 
= battle. Spear-maids = Valkyrjur. 

Page 180. Fenrir's jaw-gag : " Fenris varra sparri" = 
sword, cf S. E. i. 112: " Ulfrinn gapti akaflega, ok 
fekkst um mjok ok vildi bi'ta \iA. feir skutu i munn 
honum sverSi nokkvoru, nema hjoltin vi^ ne'5rag6mi, en 
efra gomi bloSrefillinn, fat er gom-sparri hans," i.e. The 
Wolf (Fenrir) gaped awfully and struggled about much 
and wanted to bite them. They slipped into his mouth 
a certain sword, the hilts of which stick against the lower 
jaw and the point against the upper ; this is his jaw- 
gag. — Steel-storm : " malm-hn'^ " = battle ; its trees, 
" meiBar " = men, warriors. 

394 The Saga Library. 

Page l8i. Sheath-staff: " fetil-stingr" = sword. — 
Byrny - meeting : " bryn-ping " = meeting of hosts in 
armour, battle. 

Page 182. Shaft - rain : " nadd - regn " = battle ; its 
Niord, god, war commander. — Rakni's roaring highway : 
" Rakna rym-leiS " = sea. Rakni, a sea-king of fame, 
S. E. i. 548. — War-board: "gunn-borS " = shield. 

Page 184. 2. War-weed: " her- vd^ir"= armour, byrny. 
War-warders' leader: "vi'si ver^ungar " = King Hakon, 
" VerSung " = body-guard. 

3. Flinger of the glitter in the she-giant's drift on lee- 
moon of sea-steed : "gim-slongvirnausta-blakkshle-mana- 
gffrs dn'fu " = King Hakon. Sea-steed = ship ; its lee- 
moon = shield ; the shield's she-giant = axe ; its drift on or 
against the shield = battle ; the'glitter of battle = gleam- 
ing weapons ; the flinger thereof = a warrior, here King 

Page 185. I. Vafad's weeds: "vaSir Vdfa'5ar"= byrny, 
armour. " VafaSr," one of the names of Odin = the 
wavering one, the shifty wanderer, Tro^wrpoTroj. 

2. Ring Tyr : " bauga Tyr " = King Hakon. Tyr, one 
of the " Ms\x " or Gods ; cf S. E. i. 334 : " Mann er ok 
r^tt at kenna til allra Asa heita," i.e. it is right to be- 
token a man by all the names of the " .^sir." — Shield- 
bright burgs = bright shieldburgs : " ski'rar skjald-borgir" 
= lines of warriors with bright shields aloft. 

Page 186. I. Tempest of slaughter-hurdles' Gefn : 
" veSr val-grindar Gefnar " = battle. Slaughter-hurdle 
= shield ; its " Gefn " (one of the names of the goddess 
Freyja, S. E. i. 1 14), a " Valkyrja" ; her tempest = battle ; 
its speeder: "heyjandi" = man, warrior. King Hakon. — 
Crafts-master of Odin's brunt : "kennir Njots svips" = 
King Hakon. Njotr, one of Odin's names, S. E. i. 86, 
note 1 1, ii. 266, note i (cf ib. 472, 556) ; his brunt (svipr) 
= battle ; its crafts-master (knower), a renowned warrior, 
King Hakon. 

2. Wound-wand : " ben-viindr " = sword. — The squall 
of the boar of Ali : " el galtar Ala " = sea-fight. Ali,. a 

Explanations. 395 

sea-king of fame (S. E. i. 546) ; his boar = ship ; the squall 
thereof = naval fight. — Hair mounds : " skarar haugar " 
= heads, skulls. 

Page 187. I. Wolves' slayer : "varga myrSir" = King 
Hakon. Wolves = misdoers. — Gold's well wonted scarer: 
" vanr 6tta gulls " = accustomed to scatter gold about, a 
bounteous prince. 

2. The Niord of Gondul who giveth drink to 
Hugin : " Gondlar NjorBr, sa er ger?5i hugins drekku " = 
Thoralf Skolmson (cf p. 184). "Gondul," one of the 
" Valkyrjur," hence, appellatively, fight ; the Niord (god) 
thereof, a warrior ; " Huginn," one of Odin's two wise 
ravens (" Thought," in fact) ; its drink, liquor = blood. 

Page 190. 4. Wound-sea: " sar-gymir " (cf p. 54) = 
oceans of blood. — Swords' nesses : " sverSa nes " = 
shields. — Flood of spears : "floS fleina" = blood shed in 

5. Red shield's [read : brim's] heaven : " ro'Snar (ro^in- 
nar) randar himinn " = shield. — Skogul's cloud storm : 
" Skoglar skys veSr " = brunts of fighting. Skogul's 
cloud = shield ; the storm thereof = fight. 

Page 191. I. Spear-waves: "odd-lar" = blood flowing. 
— Odin's weather : " Ottins veSr " = brunt of battle. 

5. Geir-skogul, one of the "Valkyrjur," as is also 
Skogul, p. 192, I. 

Page 193. 4. Fenriswolf ; see note to p. 31. 

Page 198. I. Battle-god's black falcons : "dolg-bands 
dokk-valir " = ravens. Battle-god = Odin ; his black fal- 
cons = ravens. — Wound-reed : "benja reyr" = sword. 

2. See note to p. 180. 

Page 199. I. Hords' land-ward: " HorSa land-vorSr " 
= King Harald Greycloak. — Wounds' hail : " benja 
hagl " = arrows. — Sheath-ice : " fetla svell," stiria baltei 
= sword. 

2. Uller of leek of battle : " Ullr imun-lauks " = King 
Harald Greycloak. Leek of battle = sword ; its Uller 
(god) = man, warrior. — The seed of Fyris meadow : 
"frze Fyris- valla" = gold. Cf. S. E. i. 396-98, where 

39^ The Saga Library. 

the story is told, how Rolf Kraki was betrayed at Upsala 
by King Adils, his stepfather. " But Yrsa, the mother of 
Rolf, gave him an ox-horn full of gold, and therewithal 
the ring ' Svi'agriss,' and bade him and his ride away to 
their host. They sprang to their horses, and rode down 
unto the Fyris-meads, and then saw how King Adils 
rode after them with all his host in full armour, intent on 
slaying them. Then took Rolf Kraki with his right hand 
the gold out of the horn and sowed it all about the road. 
And when the Swedes saw this, they sprang from their 
saddles and each one picked up what he caught hold of, 
but King Adils bade them ride on, himself riding as hard 
as he could, Slungnir, his steed, being the best of all 
horses. Now when Rolf Kraki saw King Adils riding 
close upon him, he took the ring ' Svfagriss ' and flung 
it to him, and bade him take it for a gift. King Adils 
rode to the ring and lifted it with the point of his spear 
and slipped it up over the socket. But Rolf Kraki, 
turning back, saw how Adils bowed down (catching the 
ring) and said : ' Utterly humbled have I now him who 
is the mightiest among the Swedes ; ' and thereon they 
parted. By reason of this gold is called the seed of 
Kraki or of Fyris-mead." — The falcon's fell : "hauka fjoll" 
= hands, whereon the falcon sits. — The meal of the woe- 
ful maidens of Frodi : " meldr fa-glyja'Sra fyja FroSa" = 
gold. Cf. S. E. i. 376 : " King Frodi (Fridleifson of Den- 
mark) went to a feast in Sweden to the king who was 
named Fjolnir. Then he bought two bondswomen who 
were called Fenja and Menja, being big women and 
strong. At this time were found in Denmark two quern- 
stones so huge, that none might be found strong enough 
to turn them. Now such was the nature of the quern 
that it would grind whatever the grinder of it wished. 
That quern was calledGrotti. Drop-chaps,' Hengi-kjoptr,' 
is he called who gave the quern to King Frodi. King 
Frodi had the bondswomen brought to the quern and 
bade them grind gold and peace and bliss to Frodi. But 
no longer rest or sleep gave he to them than while the 

Explanations. 397 

cuckoo was silent or a song might be sung. And so it 
is said they sang that lay which is called Grotti's-lay, and 
ere the song came to an end they had ground an armed 
host upon Frodi ; and on that night there came the sea- 
king called Mysing and slew Frodi, and took much 
plunder ; and then Frodi's peace came to naught. Now 
Mysing took away with him both Grotti and Fenja and 
Mcnja besides, and bade them grind salt ; and at mid- 
night they asked if Mysing was not growing weary of 
salt ; but he bade them grind on. But a little while had 
they yet ground or ever the ships sank down, leaving a 
whirlpool in the ocean where the sea falls through the 
quern -hole." — Troll-wives' foeman: " mellu -d61gr" = 
Thor ; his mother = Earth ; her flesh = mould, soil. 

Page 200. I. The coif-sun of the brow-fields of Fulla : 
"fall-sol Fullarbrd-vallar" = gold, the diadem of Fulla's 
headdress. — Mountains of Uller's keel: " fjoU Ullar 
kjols " = hands. Uller's keel = shield (as, according to 
the so-called Laufass Edda, he owned a ship called 
Skjoldr = shield ; Lex. Poet., sub Ullr); its mountains = 
hands, that lift the shield on high. — Sun of the river: 
"alf-roBull elfar" = gold. — Corpse of the mother of the 
giant's foe ; cf end of preceding note. 

3. Speeder of skates of isle-mead : " skerja-foldar sk/S- 
rennandi " = seafarer, sea-king, here King Harald Grey- 

Page 201. I. Breeze of giant maidens: "byrfursa toes" 
= mind ; cf. note to p. 179, breeze of Mani's darling. 

Hawk-land's jewel : " val-jarSar men " = gold. Hawk- 
land = hand. — Lair of the ling-worm : " lyngva latr " = 
gold, here gold-ring. Ling-worm = serpent. The myth 
of the serpent or dragon Fafnir underlies all " kennings " 
of this kind. , 

2. Terror-staff of the jaw-teeth of Heimdall : " Ognar- 
stafr tanna HallinskiSa" =scatterer, destroyer of gold, a 
bounteous lord, King Harald Greycloak. " Hallinskfei," 
one of the names of Heimdall. Cf. S. E. i. 100 : " Heim- 
dallr hcitir einn . . > hann heitir ok HallinskiSi ok 

398 The Saga Library. 

Gullintanni ; tennr bans voru af gulli," i.e. Heimdall is 
the name of one (of the ^sir), he is also hight Haliinskidi 
and Goldentooth ; his teeth being of gold. Hence 
Heimdall's jaw-teeth = gold ; its terror-staff = destroyer, 
a man liberal of his wealth. 

Page 206. I. Swans of the Burden-Tyr : " svanir- 
farma-Tys " = ravens. Burden-Tyr = Odin (cf S. E. i. 
230) ; his swans = ravens. — Rooks' beer from Hadding's 
chosen: -" Hroka-bjor Haddingja-vals " = blood. Had- 
ding's chosen (ones) = war-host ; the rook thereof = bird 
of carnage, raven ; its beer = blood. The Hadding here 
mentioned is Hadding, son of Gram, legendary King of 
Denmark of mighty fame ; cf. Saxo, lib. i. 34-60. 

2. The arm's (gold-) worm : " alnar ormr " = ring, 
bracelet. — Fish land : "olun-jorS" = sea, ocean. 

Page 207. I. For "merry king" read merry lord, i.e. 
Earl Hakon. — Storms of Gondul : " Gondlar ve^r" = 
fight, battle. — Red moon that is of Odin's (read: Hedin's) 
elbow: "rau^mani HeSin's b6ga" = war-shield. — Fight- 
sail : " r6g-segl " = shield. 

2. Swan(-fowl) of the heavy sword-stream: "svanr 
sverSa sverri-fjar?5ar " = raven. Sverri-fjorSr, lit. heavy 
sea ; heavy sword-sea = blood shed in torrents. — Shaft- 
storm of the spear- wife : " orva-drifa odda-vifs " = fight, 
battle; spear-wife ="Valkyrja." — Hlokk's sail : "Hlakk- 
ar segl" = shield. Hlokk, a " Valkyrja."— Bow-hail: 
" bogna hagl " = showers of arrows. 

3. Storm of Ali : "el Ala" = fight. Ali, a renowned 
sea-king. — Deft grove of the shield leek : " rseki-lundr 
randar-lauks " = warrior. Earl Hakon. Shield leek = 

4. Warder of waves' raven : " vorSr hranna hrafna " = 
commander of a fleet. Earl Hakon. Waves' raven = 

5. Mail-rain : "mel-regn" = shower of arrows. — Sword- 
storm's urger: "hjors hriS-remmir = remmirhjors hri^ar" 
= commander in battle, Earl Hakon. — Vidur of gale of 
sea-steeds ; " hald-ViSurr haf-fa.xa " = " Vi'Surr hjaldrs 

Explanations. 399 

haf-faxa" = commander in sea-fight, Earl Hakon. Sea- 
steed's gale = sea-fight ; its Vidur (one of the names of 
Odin) the director, ruler thereof. — The High-one's tem- 
pest : "Hars dr/fa" = battle. " Har," one of Odin's 
many names. 

Page 215. Spear-gale : "geir-drffa " = battle. 

Pages 2 16-17. Helm-storm : "hjalm-grdp" = shower of 
arrows, brunt of battle. — Loft's friend's hall of friendship : 
" Lofts vinar vin-heimr " = " Val "-hall. Loft's friend 
= Loki's friend, Odin ; his hall of friendship, friendly 
home = " Val "-hall. — Fiery rain of Odin : " skiir |?r6ttar 
furs" = brunt of battle, "j^rottr" = Odin; his fire = 
sword ; the shower thereof = battle. 

Page 218. Svolnir's dame: "Svolnis vara " = earth. 
Svolnir = Odin ; his wife = earth. — Hind of birch-buds : 
" hind birki-brums " = goat. 

Page 2ig. i. Terns fin-tailed foreboders of long nets : 
" sporS-fjaSraSar spa-pernur langra nota " = herring, the 
approach of whose shoals forebodes long nets being called 
into use. — Fire goddess = woman (apostrophe). — Silver- 
weeds of the ice-fields : "akr-murur jokla " = " murur 
jokla akrs " = herring. "Jokla akr" = sea, ocean surface ; 
its silver-weed, the silver shining herring. — Wave-swine : 
" unn-svi'n " = ship, here fishing or herring boat. 

2. Sea-heaven's folk : " al-himins lendingar " = Ice- 
landers. Sea-heaven = ice, covering the sea's surface. — 
Swimming firth-herd: "fjorS-hjorS" = fish, here herring. 

Page 220. Herrings that leap from hands of Egil to 
Mar for sea-shafts sold I : " hlaup-sildr Egils gaupna selda 
ek Mze viS orum sjevar" = my arrows I sold to Mar for 
herrings. Egil, the son of a king of the Fins and brother 
to Vcilund (Velent) (cf. Vk. introd., N.F. 163), was a most 
famous archer, and performed at the behest of King 
NiSuS (Nidung) the same feat of archery that Tell did at 
the bidding of Gessler (cf. DiSriks saga af Bern, ch. 75). 
Here real arrows are called the herrings that leap from 
archer Egil's hands, while real herrings are called the 
arrows of the sea. 

400 The Saga Librajy. 

Page 239. I. God of hilts made meetly: " Msetra 
hjalta malm-OSinn " = King Harald Greycloak. A more 
literal rendering would be God of the precious hilt- 
metal ; hilt-metal = sword ; its Odin, god, a warrior. 

2. Glammi's steed : " Glamma soti " = ship ; its garth- 
wall : " garSr " = shield ; its heeder = warrior. King 
Harald Greycloak. " Glammi," a sea-king of fame, 
S. E. i. 546. — The scatterer of the sea's flame : " sendir 
sjavar bals " = bounteous prince, King Harald. — The 
word-happy kings' friend: "orS-heppinn jofra spjalli " = 
Earl Hakon Sigurdson the Mighty. 

Page 241. Eyebrow's field : " briina grund" = fore- 
head ; the heeder of the silk-fillet thereof = one who 
wears such a band as a mark of social distinction, here 
Earl Hakon. 

Page 242. 2. Thor's shrine-lands : " hofs lond Ein- 
riBa " = lands belonging to the temples of Thor. Ein- 
ridi, one of Thor's names, S. E. i. 553. — Hlorrid 
of the spear-garth: "geira garSs HldrriSi " = Earl 
Hakon. Spear-garth = shield ; the Hlorrid = Thor (god) 
thereof, a warrior, here Earl Hakon. — Wolf of the death 
of the giants : " vitnir jotna val falls " = ship. The death 
of the giants = ocean, cf. S. E. i. 46-48 : " Synir Bors 
drapu Ymi jotun ; enn er hann fell, fa hljop sva mikit 
bloS or sarum hans, at meS Jjvi drekktu feir allri astt 
Hrimpursa," i.e. the sons of Bor slew the giant Ymir ; 
but when he fell, then flowed so much blood from his 
wounds, that therewith they drowned all the kindred of 
the Rime-giants . . . . " \€\x gerSu af bloSi hans saeinn 
ok votnin" : they made of his blood the sea and the waters. 

3. Fight-worthy folk of Hlokk's staff: " Her-farfir 
Hlakkar as-megir " {i.e. Hlakkar ass megir) = warriors, 
then men in general. " Hlokk," a " Valkyrja," here used 
appellatively for battle. — Mighty red-board's wielder : 
" riki rauB-brikar raekir " = Earl Hakon. Red-board = 
shield. — Gold-waster: "au'S-ryrir" = Earl Hakon. — Spear- 
bridge : " geir-brii " = shield. 

4. Fight-board : " I'mun-borS " = id. . 

Explanalious. 40 1 

Page 245. I. Frey of Hedin's breezes : "FreyrH^^- 
ins byrjar " = Earl Hakon. Iledin, a sea-king; his 
breeze = fight. — War-brand's UUer (god) : "brandaUllr" 
= Earl Hakon. 

2. Hurdles smooth of Meiti : " Meita mjiik-hurSir" = 
ships. Meiti, a sea-king of fame, S. E. ii. 468. — Glad- 
denner of the sparrow of the shield-svvarf : "sv6r-ga;lir 
randa-sdrva " = Earl Hakon. Shicld-swarf = shield- 
filings, chipping-up of shields = battle; the sparrow 
thereof = raven, carrion bird. Gods (not god) of the 
wall of Hedin : " UUar Hedins veggjar "= warriors. 
Wall of Hedin = shield. 

Page 246. I. The Narvi of the screaming of the shield- 
witch : " Hlym-Narfi hli'far flag^s " = " Narfi hli'far- 
flag^s hlyms " = Earl Hakon. Shield-witch = axe ; its 
screaming = battle ; the Narvi (a son of Loki, S. E. i. 
104 = giant) thereof: war commander, Earl Hakon. — 
The need of the Talk of snow-shoes : " forf ondiir-Jalks " 
= ship. lalk, one of the names of Odin ; the lalk of snow- 
shoes = the god famed for snow-shoes, i.e. UUer. Cf 
S. E. i. 102 : "hann (Ullr) er bogmaSr sva goSr ok 
ski'Sfaerr, sva at engi ma vi'S hann keppast," i.e. He is an 
archer so good and so skilled at snow-shoeing, that no 
one may contend against him. Ullcr's need = his ship, 
the name of which was Skjiildr = shield, which points to 
UUer's need being meant here to signify shield-hung 
ships, warships. The last two lines of the verse corre- 
spond to the prose-words, " The earl brought-to his ships 
by the land." 

2. Fight-groves : " gunnar-lundar " — warriors, armed 
hosts. — The host of the ocean = King Ragnfrod's levies 
from Orkney. 

Page 248. Meiti's sea-skate : " Meita skf=5 " = ship. 
" Meiti," cf note to p. 245, 2. 

Page 249. I. The flickering flame of targe-field : 
" riS-logi rand-vallar " = vibrated, gleaming sword. 
Targe-field = shield.— Wolf-gladdener : " Ulf-teitir " = 
he who by carnage provides food for wolves ; here 

III. u D 

402 The Saga Library. 

Earl Eric. — Blood-hawks : " bl6B-valr " = raven, carrion 

2. Sand-Kiar : " Kjar sanda " = Skopti of the tidings. 
Kiar, a lord of Normandy (N. F. 163, cf. 283, 6), here 
used appellatively for lord. " Kiar sanda," lord of the 
sands, i.e. sea-side countries, therefore = hersir of the 
sea-marge in the preceding stanza. 

The land's belt's fire's giver : " log-reifir land-mens " = 
" reifir land-mens logs " = Skopti of the tidings. Land's 
belt = sea ; its fire = gold ; its giver = bounteous man, 
liberal lord.^ — Steel-awer, perhaps better steel vEgir, god : 
" stal-aagir " = Earl Eric, j^gir, the god of the sea. — 
Din-bidder of the storm of stem-plain's raven : " stafns 
flet-balkar hrafna dynbei'Sir," i.e. " beiSir dyns balkar 
stafns-flets hrafna " = Skopti of the tidings. Stem-plain, 
planities prors = ocean ; its raven = ship ; the storm 
(balkr) thereof = brunt of battle, naval fight ; the din 
thereof = clash of weapons. 

The italicized line here, and those on pp. 346-48, form 
the so-called klofa-stef or cleft, split-up refrain of Eyjolf 
Dadaskald's poem, the Banda-drapa. Taken together, 
the five lines, of which the " stave " consists, form the 
following sentences in praise of Earl Eric : 

The land at gods' will draweth 
The spearstorm bounteous Eric 
To him, and fight-gay wages 
That earl his wars, and swayeth 
The land by gods safe-guarded. 

3. The ale-skiff of the sea-worm : " 6l-knarrar sjdfar- 
na%r " = hall, palace. Ale-skiff = beaker, bowl, in a col- 
lective, multiplicative sense ; its sea-worm = ship, i.e. 
nave, hall, palace. — Finn of the serpent's seat-berg : " linna 
set-bergs Finnr" = bounteous prince, King Harald Gorm- 
son. Serpent's seat-berg = gold ; its Finnr — Dwarf = a 
wealthy man, a bounteous lord. — The whetter of the 
Hild-storm : " Hildar el-hvetjandi " = " hvetjandi Hildar 
els " = Earl Eric. Hild, a " Valkyrja " (S. K. i. 118); her 
storm = battle ; its " hvetjandi," a dauntless warrior, a war 

Explaiialions. 403 

dulcc. — The bride of Odin : " Vggjar biiibir " = earth, 
land, Norway, the preceding prose text stating that King- 
Harald appointed Eric earl with dominion over Vingul- 
mark and Raumrealm. 

Page 250. The foe of the flame-flash of the yew-seat : 
" hati elds y-setrs " = Olaf Tryggvison. Yew-seat = 
the seat of the yew-bow, the hand that holds and 
lifts it ; the hand's flame-flash = gold ; its foe = he 
who wastes, scatters it, a liberal, open-handed person. — 
Stout friend of Hord-folk = Olaf Tryggvison. Hord- 
folk stands here, pars pro toto, for the Norwegian 
nation ; the poet must have chosen this folk-land in pre- 
ference to any other because of the close alliance which 
afterwards took place between the great Hord-land chiefs, 
the kinsmen of Hor^a-Kari and the family of Olaf 
Tryggvison, cf. ch. Ixii.-iv. — Weed of Hamdir: " Hamdis 
klaeSi " = byrnies or coats of mail. — Clash of sword edge : 
" hjorva gnyr" = battle ; its clouds : "sky " = shields. 

Page 253. Corpse-banes: " hr£e-sk6^ " (scathe) = 

Page 255. I. Gold-shearer: " gull-skerSir " = boun- 
teous man, Olaf Tryggvison. — Spear-gale : " geir-jieyr " 
(thaw) = battle. 

2. Yoke-beasts of the ere-boards : " eykir aur-borBs " 
= ships. Aur-bor^, which, for want of any technical 
term for it, we translate "ere-board," the board that 
drags through the ere = the sand or shingle, when a 
boat is hauled up on to the beach, is the second plank 
from the keel (bilge-plank .''). — Grove of battle : " sig- 
runnr " = warrior, Earl Hakon. Helm of aweing : " holm- 
fjbturs hjalmr " = "cegis-hjalmr," the terrifier's helmet. 
Cf. S. E. i. 356 : " Fafnir hafSi fd tekit hjdlm, er 
Hrei'Smar hafSi att, ok setti a hofut ser, er kalla^r 
var CEgis-hjAlmr, er oil kvikvendi hrxBast er sja," i.e. 
Fafnir had then taken the helm, which (his father) 
Hreidmar had owned, and all quick things dread who 
see it. " Holm-fjoturr " = holm-fetter, island-belt = sea 
= " iEgir " = god of the sea, taken as an appellative = 

404 The Saga Library. 

sea. This verse, it would seem, was not made till the 
sound of ce in cegir = terrifier, and that of ^e in /Egir 
had become identical in sound, but that was a long time 
after the death of Jingle-scale, which occurred shortly after 
A.D. 986. 

3. Frost of murder : " morS-frost " = battle (where 
bodies of men are rendered stiff as if they were frozen). — 
Elf of the land of mirkwoods : " alfr myrk-markar fold- 
ynjar " = Norway, the land of dense, dim woods. 

Page 256. I. Heeder of storm ofwar-sark : "val-serkja 
veSr-hirSir" = "hirSir veSrs val-serkja " = Earl Hakon. 
War-sark = byrny, coat of mail ; its storm = battle ; its 
heeder = fighter, commander in war. — Fight-Niords of 
Hagbard's hurdles' rollers : " Hlunn-NirSir HagbarSa- 
hurSa " = fighters, armed host. Hagbard, a sea-king 
(cf. note to page 34) ; his hurdle = shield ; the roller 
thereof = sword ; the Niords (gods) whereof = armed 

2. Ragnir of garth of spear-flight : " garS-Rognir geir- 
rasar" = "Rognirgeir-rasargarSs" = the Emperor Otto. 
Garth of spear-flight = shield ; its Ragnir = Odin (S. E. 
ii. 472), ruler, wielder, a warrior. — Fight Vidur : " gunn- 
Vi'Surr " = the Emperor Otto. ViSurr = Odin (Grm. 49). 
— Sea - horse rider : " vags blakk-riSi " = " riBi vags 
blakks" = sailor, shipmate, man, here the Emperor Otto. 

3. Flame of Thridi : " log bri^ja " = gleaming sword ; 
its din : " frymr " = battle. — Stirrer of ernes' craving : 
"arn-greddir " = "greddir arna" = he who rouses the 
eagle's greed with corpses of the slain, here Earl Hakon. 

Page 257. The fray-Thrott of the sound steed : 
" sa;ki-|7r6ttr sund-faxa " = Earl Hakon. j^rottr (pith), 
one of Odin's names. Fray-Thrott = fight god, a warring 
lord. Sound-steed = ship. 

Page 259. I. Bole of the gear of Hedin ; " draugr 
He'Sins vaSa"= Earl Hakon. Hedin's gear = byrny, coat 
of mail ; its bole = warrior, man. — Corpse-fowls : " hra;- 
gammar" (vultures) = ravens. — Tyr of pine-rod's hollow, 
or rather : Tyr of pine-hollow's rod : " Tyr tyrva tein- 

Explanations. 405 

lautar" = " Tyr tyrva-lautar teins " = Earl Hakon. Pine 
(like " askr," "" lind ") = sword ; its hollow (" laut ") = 
shield ; the shield's rod (" teinn ") = sword ; its Tyr 
(god), a man, warrior. 

2. Wild-fire of the sword-vale: "hyrr hjor-lautar" = 
sword. Sword-vale (" hjor-laut ") = shield ; its wild-fire 
(" hyrr "), the flashing sword. — Sorli's roof : " Sorla rann " 
= shield. Sorli, son of King Jonaker, slain in the hall 
of Ermanaric, Hdm. 31. — Sleeping-loft of ling-fish: 
"lopt lyngs bar?a" = gold. Ling-fish = serpent ; its 
sleeping loft = gold. Cf. the myth of Fafnir, Em., 
Story of the Volsungs, S. E. i. 356-60. 

3. God of the gale of Frodi : " Ass Fr6Sa hrfSar " 
= Earl Hakon. Erodi, a sea-king of fame, S. E. i. 546 ; 
his gale = battle ; the god thereof = commander, war 

Page 260. Speeding-stem of the (sea-)steed of rollers : 
" hleypi-meiSr hlunn-viggja" = King (jlaf Tryggvison. 
Steeds of rollers ("hlunn-vigg") = ship; its speeding- 
stem = sailor, skipper, sea-king, commander. — Birch of 
fight-sark : " birki boS-serkjar " = host in armour, an 
army. Fight-sark = byrny ; its birch (collectively, birch- 
wood) = an host in arms. 

Page 261. I. Troll-wife's steed ill-waxen: " Ljot- 
vaxinn Leiknar hestr " = wolf. Leikn = a troll-wife ; 
her steed, riding-horse = wolf. Cf N. F. (H. H.), 176: 
" Hefiinn for einn saman heim or scogi iolaaptan oc fann 
trollkono ; sv reif vargi oc hafSi orma at taumum," i.e. 
Medinn went alone together home from the wood Yule- 
cve and found (met) a troll-wife ; she rode on a wolf 
and had snakes for reins. — The dusky stallion whereon 
Night-rider fareth : " blakkt kveld-ri«u stoS " = wolf 

2. Corpse awl (probe) : " val-keri " — sword ; its skin 
(" h'ki ") = sheath. 

3. Nourisher of spear-shower : "naerir nadd-skiirar" = 
a war-leader, warrior, Olaf Tryggvison. 

Page 262. Bow-trees' dread : " y-drauga segir " = Olaf 
Tryggvison. Bow-tree, the tree that upbears the bow = 

4o6 The Saga Library. 

archer, warrior, man. — Choughs of the storm of spear- 
cast : "gj6'5ar geira hr/Sar" = carrion birds, ravens. 
Storm of spear-cast = battle ; the chough thereof, 
carrion fowl. 

Page 268. Mew of Mornir : "mar (mor) Mornis" = 
ship. Mornir, a sea-king ; his mew = ship. — Powers of 
the hall of mountains : " bond berg-salar " = guardian 
spirits. Hall of mountains = cave. 

Page 273. Steel stems: "stala meiSar" = an host 
under arms. — The stem of the steed of the meadow of 
Sveidi : "SveiSa vangs vigg-mei'Sr" = " mei'Sr viggs 
SveiBa-vangs" = Earl Hakon. Sveidi, a sea-king of fame 
(S. E. i. 546) ; his meadow = the sea ; the steed thereof = 
ship ; the stem thereof = sailor, master, commander at 

Page 274. Shield - maple : " skjald-hlynr " = Earl 

Page 275. Fifth-board steeds: "hrefnis stoS " = 
ships, fleet. " Hrefni" = the fifth plank from the keel. 

Page 277. (Sea-)mews of the glow-home : " masvar 
glse-heims " = ships. Glow-home, the glittering region 
= sea ; the mews of it as such = ships. — The steed of 
the sea-brim, or rather, gunwale : " barms vigg " = 

Page 278. I. Land-rulers: " jarS-ra'Sendr " = the 
Earls Hakon and Eric. — Wasters : " eySendr " = the 
vikings of Jom. — Sword -elf: " sverS - alfr " = Earl 

2. Sewing: "seeing" = thing sown, byrny. — Flame- 
Gerd : "gims GerSr " = woman. — Bent boughs of the 
shoulder: "bjiig-limir herSa" = arms, hands. — Din of 
Fiolnir's fires : "gnyr Fjolnis fiira " = battle. Fjolnir = 
Odin, S. E. i. 38, Grm. 47 ; his fire = gleaming sword. — 
Byrny's Vidur : "brynju Vi'Surr" = Earl Hakon. Vidur 
= Odin, cf. p. 256, 2. — Clattering war-sark of Hangi : 
" hryn-scrl<r Hanga" = byrny, coat of mail. Hangi = 
lie who Jiangs, a hanged person, here = Odin. Cf. Hni. 

Exphtiiatioiis. 407 

V'^it ec at ec Iiect I wot, that I hung 

Vindga meiSi a On the windy tree 

n§tr allar nio, Nights all nine together, 

geiri vndaj>r Wounded with spear 

oc gefin Odni, To Wodan given, 

sialfr sialfom mer. Self unto myself. 

Odin's clattering war-sark = byrny.— Weltering steeds 
of the sea-stream, better : of Rodi's stream or roost : 
" ri'S-marar Ro'Sa rastar " = ships. R6'Si, a sea-king of 
fame, S. E. i. 548 ; his stream, roost = sea. 

3. The ring-weaved shirt of Sorli : " hring-ofinn serkr 
Sorla" = byrny ; for Sorli, of. p. 259, 2. 

Page 283. Hugin's fellows' feeder: "verS-bjoSr Hugins 
ferlSar " = warrior, fighter, here Earl Hakon. Hugin, 
one of Odin's wise ravens ; its " fer^ " = company, fellow- 
ship = ravens. — Dog of thong sun : " sol-gagarr seilar " 
= "gagarr seilar-solar " = sword. Sell, thong, strap to 
which the shield was attached {ts?m/ji.uv) ; its sun = shield ; 
shield's dog = sword. — Wight spcar-stems = able-bodied 
fighters, the Norwegian army. 

Page 288. The sea-lime's urger's folk-play of the fire 
of head of Hedin : " log-skunda^ar lindar = lagar-lindar 
skundaSar folk-leikr Hedins reikar furs " = great battle. 
The fire of Hedin's head = gleaming helmet ; its folk- 
play = general agitation, battle, national fight. Sea- 
lime = ship, whose urger = Earl Hakon, whose great, 
national fight = the battle of Hiorung-wick. 

Page 298. Ran's fight-stem: "folk-runnr Ranar" = 
" Ranar-folks runnr" = .sea-rover, fighter at sea, here 
Earl Hakon. Ran = goddess of the sea, S. E. i. 338 ; 
Ran's fight = sea fight. The stem of fight = warrior, 

Page 299. I. Scathe-wolves' scatterer: " mein-rennir 
varga " = " rennir mein-varga" = Earl Eric. "Mein- 
vargar " = robbers and evil-doers, the Joms-viking.s. — 
.Staff of .sword-fields : " lindar laS-stafr = "stafr lindar- 
laSs " = Earl Hakon. Sword-field = shield ; its staff or 
stem = a man. 

4o8 The Saga Libmry. 

Page 339. Niords of the sweep of sword-cdge : " svip- 
NirSir sveiiSa " = warriors. — Scabbard all with the earth- 
bones coloured (lit. scabbard of earth's leg) : " umger^ 
jar^ar leggs " = stained, painted scabbard. Earth's leg 
= earth's bone = stone (cf. sea-bone, p. 21, and world's 
bones, p. 54), here in the derived sense : stone-colour, stain. 

Page 345. See notes to pp. 299-300. 

Page 346. I. Mail-storm: " malm-hn'S "= battle, cf. 
p. 180. — Spear-storm bounteous: " geira ve'Sr-mildr," 
i.e. " mildr geira veSrs " = fight eager. — Vali's storm- 
wreath of the hawks of the strand of Virvil : " Vala 
garSr vala Virfils strandar" = sea-fight. " Virvill " ( = 
Huyruillus, Holandiae princeps, Saxo, lib. iv., 178-79), 
a sea-king (S. E. ii. 469) ; his strand, i.e. haunts = sea ; 
the hawks thereof = ships ; Vali, a sea-rover, his storm- 
wreath = battle ; his storm-wreath of the hawks of 
Virvil's strand = sea-fight. 

2. Steerer of the stem-steed : " styrir stafn-viggs " = 
Earl Eric. Stem-steed = ship. — Wound-mew : " unda 
mar" = raven. 

Page 347. I. Sea-flame's brightener : "Isegis log- 
fagandi," i.e. " fagandi Isegis logs " = one liberal of his 
wealth, Earl Eric. — Brand of point-storm : "brandrodd- 
hri'Sar " = sword. Point-storm = battle ; its brand, i.e. 
flame = gleaming sword. 

2. Hardener of the fire of the spear-sea : " fiir-herSir 
fleina-sjavar," i.e. " herSir furs fieina-sjavar " = doughty 
fighter, Earl Eric. Spear-sea = blood ; its fire = gleam- 
ing weapon ; the hardener thereof = he who tempers his 
steel in blood. — The fight-tree, firth-flame's giver : "folk- 
meiSr vaga fur-gjafall," i.e. "gjafall vaga-furs" = boun- 
teous Earl Eric. " Vagr " = bay, firth ; its " fiirr," fire 
= gold. 

Page 348. O heedful Niord of the launch-steed : 
" hlunn-viggs gaeti-NjorSr " = sea captain. Earl Eric. 
Launch steed = ship ; its heedful Niord (god) = com- 
mander. — War's god : " Hildarass" = Earl Eric. Hildr, 
used with appellative force, = battle. 

Explanations. 409 

Page 35g. Dauntless in gale of flame of battle : " cl- 
moSr gunn-bliks," i.e. "m6'Sr [= m6Sugr] gunn-bliks 
cIs " = Earl Eric. Flame of battle = flashing weapon ; 
its gale = fight, battle. — Fattencr of carrion hornets : 
" feitir hrje-geitunga " = fighter, warrior. " Geitungr," 
Dan. geding, Swed. geting = hornet ; but S. E. ii. 488 
gives it as the name of a bird. Hence carrion hornet = 

Page 360. Wound-mew : " sara mar " = raven. 

Page 362. Meet stem of the wave-steed : " msetr 
meiSr unn-viggs " = King Olaf Tryggvison. — Sea's knop- 
crovvned reindeer : " lagar hun-hreinar " = ships with 
knopped mast-heads. 

Page 368. I. Wound-leek: " sdr-laukr " = sword. — 
Mail-Thing: "malm-jjing" = weapon mote, battle. — 
Helm-din : "dynr hjdlma" = fray of battle, fight. 

Page 369. I. Dane groves of bright leg-biter: "dansk- 
ir runnar frans Icgg-bita" = Danish warriors. Leg- 
biter = sword. — Him, i.e. Earl Eric, followed, etc. 

2. Hard firth : " harSr fjorSr " = heavy sea, i.e. severe 
brunt of fight. — Moons of the galley's prow-fork : " tungl 
tingla tangar " = shields. Tingl = figure-head ; the 
prow-fork (lit. pair of tongues) thereof, the converging 
beams of the prow upholding it. — Blood-reeds: "dreyra 
reyr" = swords. 

Page 370. I. The byrny witchwife's Regin : "bryn- 
flagSs Reginn " = Earl Eric. Byrny witchwife = axe ; 
its Reginn, dwarf, S. E. ii. 470, Vsp. 1 2, = warrior. — 
Fafnir = the Long Worm. 

2. Ring-wrought war-sark : " baugs megin-serkr " = 
ring-wrought coat of mail. — Adder : " naSr " = the 
Long Worm, cf. p. 377. 

Page 373. I. Hropt's walls: "Hroptstoptir" = shields; 
" Hroptr" = Odin.— High fells' hall : " hdrra fjalla holl " 
= heaven. 

2. Halland for Ha^Iand = HaSaland, i.e. Hathaland ; 
the king thereof, Olaf Tryggvison. — Sea-flame: "haf- 
viti " = gold. — Sword-oath : " Vapn-ei'Sr " = battle-fray. 


4IO The Saga Library. 

Page 375. I. Waster of the arm-stone: " ugraeBir 
arm-grjots " = Thorkel Nosy. — Either Adder = both the 
Long and the Short Worm. — Wolf of Tackle : " snsris 
vitnir " = ship, here the Long Worm. 

2. Thridi's land's lean monsters: "Jjri'Sja hau'Srs {lunn 
galkn " = swords. Thridi, Third-one = Odin (S. E. i. 
36) ; his land = shield ; its thin monsters, devouring 
beasts = swords. — Wolf's fare (lit. bait) : " gera beita " = 
dead corpses. 

Page 376. I. The soother of mews of clatter Of the 
sheen of Leyfi's (sea-)deer : " hungr-deyfir dyn-sjeSinga 
Leyfa dyr-bliks," i.e. " deyfir hungrs sseBinga dyns Leyfa 
dyrs bliks " = feeder of ravens. Leyfi, a sea-king of 
fame (= Leifi, S. E. 548); his deer = ship (bounding over 
wavy sea) ; the ship's sheen = shield ; the shields' clatter 
= battle ; its (the battle's) mew = carrion bird, raven ; 
the soother thereof, a man, here Olaf Tryggvison. 

2. Point-shaking servant of, etc. : " odd-brag^s drr " 
= captain, commander in battle. 

3. Swayer of hand's ice : " styrir mund-jokuls " = Olaf 
Tryggvison. Hand's ice, prop, silver, silvern ornaments, 
here jewels in general. 

Page 377. I. Some tell the wealth-wise: "sumr 
seggr segir auSar-kenni," i.e. tell me, the poet, Hallfred 

2. Thing (= encounter) of swords: "brings f ing " = 
battle. Hringr = sword, S. E. i. 566. — Heming's high- 
born brother. Earl Eric, cf. Story of 01. Tryggvison, 
ch. xix. 

Page 378. I. Tyr of the flame of ship-land: "fasta-Tyr 
far-lands," i.e. " Tyr far-lands fasta " = Erling Skialgson. 
Ship-land = sea ; its fire (fasti) = gold ; the Tyr (god) 
thereof, a bounteous lord. 




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